Aunty Mandy

Oh. Em. Gee. My sister is prego!!!!!

I am writing this post about seven months prior to you reading this, as tonight is the evening that my sister called to share the amazing news!!!! I wanted my emotions to just spill out onto this page and be as fresh as can be to share with y’all!

Wow. This is such a milestone for my family. I can’t even tell you the amount of times we have talked out this non-existent baby. Today marks one of the best days of my life.

It is such an indescribable feeling, knowing that you no longer are kids growing up, but you are now sharing these unforgettable moments together, as sisters. I remember like it was yesterday, her now husband, telling me that he was going to purpose, back in July of 2014….10996793_10155385347220647_7231556735574477906_n

 

October 24, 2015, they were married, and standing right beside her, only brought tears of joy, never thinking any moment would be so mixed with emotions…. I was wrong.

Now expecting their first child and me finally becoming Aunty Mandy this coming September, I think I can say that this will be my favorite year.

I wanted to collect these emotions running through me to always be able to cherish this day, this moment in time, and to always be able to look back and remember.

Here are my 4 emotions I had when I found out my sister is pregnant:

  1. SHEER EXCITEMENT

This was the most pure feeling of happiness I think I’ve ever felt from a phone call. I felt an instant warm feeling in my heart of pure joy. Everything stopped, and in that moment I realized that this is what life’s all about. My sister is going to be a MOM and I cannot wait to watch her grow as a person with her new tittle!!

2. HOLY CRAP IT’S HAPPENING

Yup, my mind went there. Like how did this happen? Well duh, I know that… When did this happen? I don’t think I want to know that… and certainly not where it happened, but the fact it is happening and NOW is just craziness!!!

3. NERVOUS WRECK

I literally googled “what can I do for my sister while she’s pregnant.” I want to be able to help in any way possible. Whether it’s going to appointments, maternity shopping (can’t freakin’ wait), or eating weird cravings with her, I want to be there for her. Help her make her life a little less stressful and overwhelming.

4. COMPLETE HAPPINESS

I’m happy for my sister and her husband. I’m happy for my parents, who have been waiting for this moment since I think they had her. And I’m just happy that we are a growing and healthy family that have such blessings to have this happen. It truly is a blessing, bringing a life into the world. It’s a tad more special when it’s your family that gets to grow and I can now say I am going to be an aunt!!!

I am so incredibly happy for my sister, her husband and our families, I am smiling cheek to cheek as I write this.

XOXO

Amanda Rae

Friday Favorites

Do you ever take photos or screen shots of things just because you like them? No reason at all but for the pure sake of having it on your phone to remember the moment? I know lots of us do this. I probably do this at least twice a week.

I think it has something to do with having a creative mind, and when something catches your eye and inspires you, you should react and take a photo!

For that reason, I think I’ll make Friday Favorites a thing. Take all of my weekly inspired images and share with y’all 🙂

Favorite Item on To-Do List: The Pint Shop is a must-see during a summer day in NYC!

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Favorite Rooftop Bar: The Skylark in NYC is a great summer date spot ladies!

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Favorite Summer Nails: I’m really into the powder dip polishes by ANC. A better choice for your nails if you like them long.

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Favorite iPhone Background: Everything looks good against a marble background.

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Favorite Landscape: It’s amazing how good nature makes you feel.

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Favorite Summer Drink: Love the can and it takes good too! SpikedSeltzer

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Favorite Weekend Vibe: Breakfast al fresco, do I need to say anymore?

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Favorite Celebration Cake: AMAZING cake from Butter & Scotch.

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Favorite Book Passage: From the new book Love Rules: How to Find a Real Relationship in a Digital World by Joanna Coles. I recommend it to us millennials!

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Favorite Laugh: Cheaper than a therapist. Thanks Pantene!

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Favorite Office Space: WeWork, you’re cool. The newest in urban bathrooms and retro, yet modern phone booths. What a concept!

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Hope you enjoyed my favorites from this past week! Leave some love and let me know what makes you stop, grab your phone, and capture the moment!

Yours Truly,

Amanda Rae

 

 

All On My Own!

I did it. I have achieved the impossible. At 25, I am proud to say that I live on my own! Never in a million years did I ever think that I’d live alone… but times have changed and so have I!

I am so fortunate and lucky to have a support system that has brought me to this point in my life. Living on my own was always a thought but never a reality. For one, I didn’t ever see myself living alone. I thought I’d feel lonely, scared, and like an outcast. Second, never did I think it would be financially possible, especially in a location of my choice. But not every situation is perfect. Embracing that, I came to a realization that the pros column was a lot longer than the cons. Aside from having two amazing parents always in my corner, I needed to mentally be in the right state of mind and accept being on my own. I have now learned that you are never REALLY alone…

After a big life change, I finally became at peace with the idea, and stopped looking for a roommate. The thought of accommodating what I wanted, vs. what reality was going to be: live with a stranger, in a crappy old apartment, at triple the amount I could ideally afford. Wasn’t at all appealing anymore.

Like I said before, not every situation is perfect. No I do not live that close to friends, or family, but I do feel comfortable in my apartment, which was and is my number one priority. As a woman, I needed to feel safe and secure, and that goes for wherever I am. I knew that from the last few years of some experiences, I was finally ready to do what made ME happy. Not getting caught up in what other people were doing, or living, or experiencing. I knew that this was the best decision for ME.

With that being said, I’ve been living in my new apartment for about three weeks now. Already having all of the furniture from my previous living situation, I didn’t need to purchase much. Everything in my apartment is from my parents old house, as they replaced all of their furniture a year ago. Granted, not everything I have is my taste, but I am very happy with how my apartment came out. It is home, and with pride, my home!

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Thank you to my family and friends for always keeping my best interest at heart and giving me the advise I always need to hear. ❤

Special thanks to my parents. XOXO

Leave some love and share with me your thoughts on living alone. Have you ever wanted to? Regret not? Would love to hear!!!

Yours truly,

Amanda Rae

New Year, Same Me

New year, same me??? Whaaat?

Yes, It’s true. Not much will change. This is reality….

I am trying to be more of a realist and realize that every year I put these far-fetched goals and dreams to start off the new year with. But in reality, they are too large and too challenging to crush all in one year.

I was once told by a wise woman (my mama), that you are who you are and you can’t change those parts about you that make up YOU. Understanding and finally accepting that, there’s always ways to advance yourself, better yourself, and strive for more. THOSE are the goals you should try to conquer. Setting yourself up to fail is most likely why people keep repeating those yearly goals… making these intentions more accessible and straightforward will give you better outcomes!

Also, setting short-term goals vs. long-term goals may work better for you and your lifestyle. This is more tangible and less stress on yourself to accomplish. Smaller can equal to quicker results, vs. larger and longer results. For instance, you want to lose 15 pounds this year… some say, easy peasy, while others might need to break it down smaller and set a goal such as each month you want to try loosing 1-2 lbs per week/month. This creates a more reasonable goal for yourself, with less stress and worry. More achievable than looking at the bigger picture, at least in my opinion!

Overall, whatever you do decide, or not decide to do in 2018, they are your ambitions, nobody else’s, so do (or not do) it all for you!

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What I find most helpful for me might not be what works for you, but the beauty of sharing one’s opinion is that it gives others suggestions on things to try. Might bring upon another great idea!

I’ve conducted my list of 2018 goals for myself and thought I’d share with y’all! These are things that I’ve been thinking about doing, or trying out, in hopes of spending my time more wisely and really doing the things that make me happy!

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  1. Read 1 book per month
  2. Work out 3 times a week
  3. Post on the blog 1 a week
  4. Try Whole30 Diet for 1 month
  5. Volunteer at animal shelter 1 a month
  6. Donate to good will every 6 months
  7. Make a budget chart each month
  8. Join a class (dance/photography)
  9. Complete a Coursera course
  10. Plan a trip

Looking at my list of 10 things, the difference for most on this list is that I’ve made them objectives vs. just goals. The difference between the two is that a goal is a description of a destination, and an objective is a measure of the progress that is needed to get to the destination. My objectives (1-7) are the short-term outcomes and my goals (8-10) are the long-term outcomes that I want to achieve. I find that objectives help me more with managing my overall goals. They are all goals but the more long-term are not as high on the list in that those are ongoing things that I can always try to do/work on. The first seven are things that I want to try to manage in a specific time slot.

I carry around a notebook that fits right inside my handbag and I write in it all day long. Whether its ideas, to-do lists, goals, and/or whatever else I think of during my day, it keeps me organized, detail oriented, and secure with everything going on inside my head. Making things more real once I write them down, I can never forget anything!

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What works for you? Do you have a technique to help you stay organized? I am a list writer, which helps me when wanting to prioritize what I want/need to get done. Everyone has their way of doing things, but the ultimate goal here (no pun intended) is to set those objectives and goals for yourself and be more of a realist when setting them. I would love to hear some of your 2018 goals! Leave a comment down below to share 🙂

Until next time ❤ Amanda Rae

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Keeping Austin Weird

I wish we could all live by this mantra!

Having never been, I had some expectations traveling to Texas. Stereotypes: 1. everyone will be wearing cowboy boots, 2. warm fall weather, 3. southern accents….. all proven WRONG!

This trip was extra special, visiting a high school friend along with another friend and all our mothers, a reunion of 20+ year old friendships. So really anything we did would have been fun, but I seriously don’t think we stopped laughing once!

There’s something to be said about people who you rarely see but can fall back into the friendship! It really was an amazing time, full of interesting food concoctions, beautiful scenery, and awesome company!

I wouldn’t say we did a lot of tourist activities, but we certainly saw the amazing attractions and views of Austin. Including the infamous bats that live within one of the bridges in the heart of it all. A morning spent at the JW Marriott Spa, another brunching at the legendary Torchy’s Tacos.

With not a lot of down time, since we were only there for 5 days, we were still able to capture these moments and cherish the quality time all spent together!

Just wanted to share some of these moments with Y’ALL 🙂

Until next time ❤

Amanda Rae

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Rae’s Reads: September 2017

I can’t believe we just finished our first book! I have to say… I love being in a book club. Something about being able to discuss a book and dissecting each chapter, with people who also want to, is pretty refreshing!

I wanted to thank those who joined last month’s Rae’s Reads throughout the month of August! I had such a good time writing my weekly discussions and having some of you engage and be just as eager to see how the book ended. It made me happy to see you were enjoying it! This was my first book club choice, which could have been a hit or miss, but I think overall, everyone enjoyed the story and were happy to have read it!

I chose this month’s book based off of the NY Times Best sellers list, like last month’s, but this time, a genre I personally really enjoy… MYSTERY!!! I love suspenseful, turn pagers that get you wanting to solve the mystery before ever coming close to the end, it’s that intense! Just like movies, I feel like these types of books keep my attention and interest much more than any other genre, so why not try one this month! I was going to wait until October and get in the spirit of Halloween but I just couldn’t wait. PLUS, this book was just released… so…

For the month of September, we will be reading, “A Stranger in the House,” by Shari Lapena. Ugh, I literally cannot wait to read this as I’ve heard this is a suspenseful thriller you never want to put down! This New York Times best seller was released on August 15th of this year! 411KzVvtbEL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

I am a big fan of Shari Lapena and her first best-selling book, “The Couple Next door.” Another great thriller that left me wanting more. When I saw this book had just come out, it was a calling that we have to read it!!

Just to give a very brief summary, this book is about a suspicious accident, a wife who can’t account for herself and unsettling questions that threaten to tear a couple apart. A thriller packed full of secrets, and a twisty story that never stops… what else could you ask for?!

This book can be found in various forms and at various places. For those who enjoy a physical book in hand, you can find it on Amazon for $11.72 in paperback. Side note –> make sure to order this ASAP or run over to your nearest book store to get the book before we disuss on 9/8!) If you are like me and enjoy reading the e-book version on an iPad or Kindle, you can download the book, for $12.99. I actually really enjoy using my iPad because I can make side notes and highlight passages through each chapter. This really came in handy!

At this point, some of you might be wondering how they missed last month’s and how to join in on this month’s… well don’t you fret, there’s always room for more 🙂 During August, I explored using the website Goodreads (a free website for book lovers), and I felt that it was a pretty nice set-up and user-friendly! So I’m going to stick to using it again for this month’s book! For those of you who are interested in joining this month’s book club, you should definitely keep on reading than!

Here is the break-down in terms of how to join, what to expect, and how to stay connected!

  • If you do not have a Goodreads account, you can create one as well as become a member automatically, by clicking here. If you already have an account, you can click on the link as well, and it should direct you to the group page to become a member.
  • Once you are a member, feel free to play around on our group page, leave comments, questions, etc. and I will get a direct email and can respond to you.
  • I have created our first discussion board within the group, which you will be able to see once a member, titled “Welcome.”
  • Each week I will assign additional chapters, and this month, every Friday I will post in this group, on a discussion board, comments, questions, etc.
  • Feel free to read ahead as I am giving everyone the entire month of September to read and discuss. This will give everyone time to contribute in the discussion as well as catch up for the following week!
  • Feel free to talk about anything related to this book as no comment is wrong or right, but is your opinion. I like opinions, so please don’t hold back any of them!

Here are also some rules or guidelines, however you’d like to refer these as, for all of you, who are interested in joining in on all the fun this month!

  1. Follow each week’s discussion
  2. Keep up on the chapters
  3. Engage with us!
  4. Enjoy your set aside reading time

It’s not about how many people join in, or share in the weekly discussions, it’s about how each person feels after finishing a good read! I think a good books leaves the reader either wanting more, asking questions. That to me makes reading a book worth it. The nice part is that it creates time for yourself during your day to focus just on reading, and nothing else!

I have created a schedule for this book so nobody gets left behind! Like I said, feel free to read ahead, but make notes as you go so you can share your thoughts for each weeks discussion!

Mystery LetterpressWEEK 1 – 9/1 to 9/8: Chapters 1-12

WEEK 2 – 9/8 to 9/15: Chapters 13-25

WEEK 3 – 9/15 to 9/22: Chapters 26-36

WEEK 4 – 9/22 to 9/29: Chapters 37-49

This makes it easy for y’all to write down, put it in your phone calendar, whatever you gotta do to remember!

I am so excited to start this book and have more people join us in this moth’s Rae’s Reads!!!

Happy Reading 🙂

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Welcome to Rae’s Reads!

Hey book worms… ready for a summer book club? Well, whether you’ve been reading since you learned how, or haven’t picked up a book since you’ve learned how, now is your chance to join in on the fun of a club… but for books! (cricket, cricket), #awkward.

I know what you’re probably thinking… who has time for that? Why would I start now? It’s summer time, why read when I can do probably anything else? I get it, I’ve been there and have asked all those questions. I actually am usually that person to never pick up a book, but when I do… I get in these weird phases of actually enjoying good books. Shocking right?! When a book is that good, you can’t help but get into it. If not now though, when? Reading is good for the soul, and to be honest, why sit on a beach empty handed when you could have a good book infront of you!

It’s also nice to have a set time in your busy day to just read. I blame my commute not being two hours anymore…what’s your excuse? I used to read through books like they were magazines, one series after another, until I moved two months ago (stay tuned for a DIY apartment on a budget post), and well, that ended and I switched over to Netflix original shows (read about how I now have an obsession here). I now have to find the time to fit reading into my schedule… such a buzz kill right… But I actually find it soothing, sometimes too soothing, that I tend to fall asleep.

These are probably the worst types of readers. The ones (like me) that read two pages and pass out like a baby, only to wake up and realize that you don’t remember anything you read the night before. I end up re-reading majority of book over and over again. This is why it takes me a while to get through them. This is also why you should set time for yourself  during the day. For me, reading at night is the worst. Maybe there’s a quiet part of your day (before you get into bed) that you can find some “me” time and sit down with a good book. Better yet, join me in the first ever book launch of “Rae’s Reads!”

Can you tell how excited I am?!! I’m finally dedicating a portion of my blog for such a thing and it feels so adult like. #Adulting.

I welcome you to the launch of my first ever book related post! I thought “Rae’s Reads” suited this type of club, since its focus is not just on fashion, but on other common topics. Some thrillers, romance, maybe even some memoirs, depending on how crazy we wanna get! This months pick was chosen mainly because it includes a wide variety of different topics within this one book. It seems that this book created some buzz and focuses on family and relationship dynamics. Who can’t relate to that?

I also wanted to choose a book that has been on the best sellers list this summer, as this is already a good judgement of the book. So y’all ready for the big reveal…..

For the month of August, we will be reading “The Vacationers,” by Emma Straub. This New York Times best seller was interestingly published back in 2014 and has only now reached the best sellers list! Perhaps a change of heart? We shall find out!

vacationersThis book of family drama takes place in Manhattan. Of course this book wouldn’t be called “The Vacationers” though, if they only stayed in one place… So the Post family, Jim, Franny, and 18-year-old Sylvia jet set to the beautiful Spanish island of Mallorca for a two-week vacation. Staying in a large rental house, they meet up with their older son, 28-year-old Bobby, his girlfriend Carmen, Franny’s best friend Charles, and Charles’s husband Lawrence. Sylvia is a short time away from leaving home for Brown University and Jim as recently lost his job of thirty years at a local magazine.

You can already sense a diverse group of people about to be in a house together for two weeks…. I can feel the drama coming!

Just to give you a little sneak peek inside the ‘irresistible Post family drama of secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of a two-week stay in Spain.’ I think this is a #winning book and I cannot wait for y’all to get started!

This book can be found in various forms and at various places. For those who enjoy a physical book in hand, you can find it on Amazon for $9.58 in paperback. If you are like me and enjoy reading the e-book version on an iPad or Kindle, you can download the book, for $9.99.

For this first month’s book, I wanted to try out using Goodreads, a free website for book lovers. Imagine it as a large library that you can wander through and see everyone’s bookshelves, reviews, and ratings. You can also post your own reviews and keep track of what you have read, are currently reading, and plan to read in the future. It’s an awesome website, that if you don’t already have an account, you’ll be thanking me later!

I will be using this site for the month of August to see how it works for us! Now, this may be your first book club, just like this my first time hosting a book club. It will be a trial and error for both you and I so please hang in there, as I’m also exploring the best way to go about this for everyone! I find that trying new things can be terrifying yet rewarding when the end result is positive. On that note, here are some rules or guidelines, however you’d like to refer these as, for all of you, who are interested in joining in on all the fun this month!

  1. Follow each week’s discussion
  2. Keep up on the chapters
  3. Engage with us
  4. Enjoy your set reading time

Here are also some details of the break-down in terms of how to join, what to expect, and how to stay connected!

  • If you do not have a Goodreads account, you can create one as well as become a member automatically, by clicking here. If you already have an account, you can click on the link as well, and it should direct you to the group page to become a member!
  • Once you are a member, feel free to play around on our group page, leave comments, questions, etc. and I will get a direct email and can respond to you!
  • I have created our first discussion board within the group, which you will be able to see once a member, titled “Chapters 1-3: Welcome.”
  • Each week I will assign additional chapters, and every Thursday, I will post in this group, on a discussion board, comments, questions, etc.
  • Feel free to read ahead as I am giving everyone the entire month of August to read and discuss. This will give everyone who has joined, the weekend, to contribute in the discussion as well as catch up for the following week’s talk!
  • Feel free to talk about anything related to this book as no comment is wrong or right, but is your opinion. I like opinions, so please don’t hold back any of them!

Whether you enjoy this book, or have a hard time staying awake, what makes a book great is the discussion that happens during and after. That is the reason for this book club, to get people reading, talking and thinking outside their comfort zone. Why you ask? Well because…why not?!!

Happy Reading 🙂

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*Please let me know if anyone has trouble getting into Goodreads or finding the group!*

Yours Truly,

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