Amanda Moments
August 8, 2016

This past weekend, I went under the needle and got myself a brand-new tattoo.

It’s Alice in Wonderland-inspired with a daisy that says “in a world of my own.” It’s a line I often sing to myself from the movie.

20160807_182723

All cred to Justin Nuddel at Golden Needle in Moorhead

Like Alice, I’m often in my own world. My own Wonderland. Down the rabbit hole.

The land inside my head is a busy place. It’s a place I visit a lot. It’s a place that brings me comfort and joy, and anxiety and sadness. It’s about the only thing that is private to me. My place of retreat.

I went into my appointment feeling down, the stress of feeling like a failure at work, at home and as a friend weighing on me. As I sat in that tattoo chair, with the familiar hum of the machine and the needle dragging against my skin, my spirits started lifting.

When I looked at the new artwork on my shoulder afterward, I felt relieved. When I got it home and cleaned up, I admired it, the smile on my face grew bigger and my heart felt lighter. I remembered some key things I’ve learned in therapy that started changing my outlook. After-ink mimosas and girl chat with a friend no doubt helped.

For me, this tattoo has been very therapeutic, very healing for my soul. The beauty on my skin is only beat by the beauty of the power of the needle.

June 15, 2016

Well hello everyone!

Things have been pretty quiet on the blog front lately. I guess it took awhile to find the time and motivation to sit down type again.

I cannot believe we’re already HALFWAY through 2016. I remember the last real post I wrote like it was yesterday. The one where I dumped all my pent-up feelings and emotions out, only to just about disappear for awhile. I did do a few vlogs here and there, but to be honest…

I lost the desire to want to blog.

It started out unintentionally. In the last half of the year, posts started getting a little more sparse. Part of it was that I truly have been swamped at work. I meant to fit the blog in and come back, but it didn’t feel right. I was tired, I was uninspired. And I swore to myself that I would no longer write a post for the sake of it. I had to want to write. It couldn’t feel like a chore.

My shit year that was 2015 caught up to me by the end, and I needed some time to relax, take life in, heal and just do me. I cut back in several areas. I reprioritized. I did what I had to.

The work I’ve been doing in therapy has been incredibly helpful and healing. Frankly I don’t know where I’d be without it.

Here I am, six months later, and I’m feeling pretty good. 2016 has already been far better than 2015, but so has been my ability to cope with life’s ups and downs.

I know I don’t owe anyone an explanation why I’ve been absent, but it finally felt like time to check in with ya’ll again. To let you know I’m OK.

I’ve kept up with other blogs as much as I was able to. Even being a blog reader can be incredibly consuming. My inbox spiraled out of control the whole time too, and I still have tons of unread Bloglovin’ feeds. I’ll get to them eventually, but I can’t let the feeling of obligation control my actions anymore.

Something seems to have happened to blogs since I first started writing almost three years ago. The sense of community changed. Posts seemed less genuine. Less interesting to me. Not all, by any means, but many. Bloggers I love that were pivotal to me in the beginning have left. Some even came back and left again. Others, like me, just slowly started disappearing. I’m not sure what happened exactly, or why or how, and that doesn’t really matter anyway. Who knows, maybe it was me that changed…or didn’t keep up with the change.

I guess for various reasons, I don’t feel like I don’t need to blog anymore. I held off writing this post for a long time just in case that changed, but I don’t think it will. And I’m OK with that.

For awhile, coming here and writing, reading others’ posts, emailing with my new blog friends, doing the whole “blog thing” helped me immensely. I needed it. I worked through a lot of stuff in some of the posts, and had some light-hearted fun in others. This blog served a big purpose for me for those years.

But now? When I come home from work, or on the weekends, I am finding fulfillment in other ways. I’m investing in myself, in my marriage, in my hobbies and the other things that are important to me. I still struggle with some things, but I now know how to fix it without logging in to WordPress. In fact, blogging has been the last thing on my mind lately. And I’m OK with that too.

What have I been up to though?

WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! Our first house. We did it. Finally. And it feels great.

20160514_162406_edit

20160514_162455_edit

20160613_160859_edit

20160515_121812_001

Brick loves it too. Seeing him enjoy his own yard for the first time makes my heart melt.

I could write a series of posts all about the house, but frankly, I don’t want to. Instead, I’m going to get back to living.

I’m not sure how much I’ll be back here. I may come back for my life updates, and I might not. All I know is I’m not going to worry about it.

That being said, if anyone wants to keep in touch more regularly, feel free to email me anytime. I may be quieter on the blog and on social media, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still chat or swap funny cat memes! In fact, I invite you to that. I ADORE that kind of stuff.

All the best, my blog friends. See you when I see you.

Save

Save

Save

December 31, 2015

I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve, from home, since I took the day off work to recoup as I head into the New Year. I really want 2016 to be amazing, and to ring it in right, it was important to make a little bit of time to get caught up and relax, even if for just one day. I need this short break.

2015 was kind of tough for me. I mean, I still have a home, a husband, my fur babies, enough food on the table and love from family and friends. For those things, I am grateful. But emotionally, I feel drained. There were a lot of little things that took a toll on me this past year.

A lot of bloggers and Facebook friends are doing recaps of their year, filled with photos of smiling faces and lists of amazing accomplishments. I would love to do a similar post, but my heart just can’t. Reflecting on 2015 right now, nothing major is jumping out at me as great moments that I want to share or remember. Well, my 30th birthday was pretty bomb, and I enjoyed Thanksgiving Day with my husband, mom and father-in-law, and I did start a fulfilling new job, but after thinking for a few moments, those are the only big, happy moments coming to mind. Which makes me feel guilty that I can’t recall more. I’m sure there were tons of small joys in my year. But as a whole, I just don’t feel great about 2015.

I’m not writing this for any sympathy. It’s just that this has been on my heart for the past several weeks, if not months, that I’ve been in a bit of a rut. I took some time off from posting regularly on the blog as I just didn’t have the emotional energy to share much of anything. I sat down to write several posts, and I did draft several, but most were sad and rambly, or clearly contrived, and I just couldn’t hit publish on them. At the same time, I felt bad that I just left this space. This blog used to be therapeutic for me. I just lost some of my spark. Finally, today seemed like the day to open up and share what’s been on my mind as we wrap up the year, as I catch up on life, as I am doing my best to pull myself out of my rut and find some joy again.

When I think about why 2015 was so … not amazing… for me, there’s not one thing I can point to. There are many things, all piling on top of each other.

My dog got sick. Brick has been having some issues with allergies since earlier this year, and we’ve been having a helluva time getting it figured out. As time went on, things only got worse, and then he developed an entirely new issue: pitting edema caused by low albumin and protein levels that are seeping out of his body, somewhere. At one point, the words “kidney failure” and “cancer” were uttered from my vet’s mouth, which made me panic. It’s neither of those things so far, but my poor puppy is having a rough time. We had to make a decision between an expensive and risky biopsy to find out the problem, or just put him on medication and pray that solves it. After lots of tears and prayer, we decided on medication. Two weeks into his treatment, things are going well, but he’s not out of the woods yet, and I’m terrified that he’s going to die. I’ve been mentally prepared for my oldest cat Captain to go first, but I was totally caught off guard that my dog could be first because of unexpected medical issues. We’ve been to the vet more times in the past six months than in all his years put together, and have dropped more money than I had expected to on this dog. He’s worth it and I want him to be OK, but it’s only more stress on me emotionally and on my checkbook as well.

My uncle died. Just after Halloween, I found out that one of my only two uncles, had passed. My mom took it hard, and some family issues arose out of it. As I was in the weeds at work and making Thanksgiving arrangements, I suddenly had to fit in an unexpected trip back home for his service, which for several other reasons, turned into a big ordeal and lots more travel.

My old boss died and it brought up a rollercoaster of emotions about that job.

My sister-in-law had brain cancer. It was tough to see how much pain it caused my husband. She’s doing much better now, but we’re still healing from the scare and praying it doesn’t come back.

My mother-in-law is also having health issues, and it’s more stress and worry that I see on my husband.

My new job is stressful. I really do love my new job and my co-workers, but I’ve been putting in much more time at the office and at home working, than is probably healthy. I’m struggling learning to say no, set boundaries, manage my time and stay on top of everything.

Therapy is bringing back up old wounds and new feelings. Holy cow, is therapy a rollercoaster. I’m doing some really in-depth work learning more about myself than I ever knew there was to me, and it is trying. It’s all worth it to be a better me, but it sure is tough when I’m in the thick of it.

My health is worrisome. I’m starting to feel like a medical mystery, and I’m frustrated that doctors can’t fix me. My jaw has been clicking, tight and locking up. I black out sometimes. My period is still irregular, and I haven’t gotten pregnant yet. After countless trips to various doctors and numerous blood tests, scans and ultrasounds, everything comes back 100% normal and no one has any idea why I’m so broken. I’ve been off the pill a full year and half now, and everyone thought that for sure, by now I would be normal again, but I’m not. I feel helpless and confused and pissed off about it all.

My hair keeps falling out, and my self-esteem is at an all-time low. And those extensions I loved at first? Hate them now. Nothing seems to work.

I am frustrated at all of the hate in this world and saddened by humankind. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I swear that this year brought out some of the worst in people, and the actions and words spoken by supposed “friends” on Facebook and members of my own community made me pissed off at the world.

I’m questioning my religion. Because of all the aforementioned issues that made me frustrated, I started researching the Christian take on various social issues, and I then found some really compelling arguments that are making me second-guess the Bible and the institution of church. It’s even harder to remain strong in my faith when the most hateful actions and words are coming from people who call themselves Christians. It makes me not want to associate myself with any of it.

I’m sick of my apartment. Two years ago, we thought for sure we’d be in a house by now, but various setbacks delayed said home purchase. I know that things happen and plans change, but it is still frustrating that I feel so far off where I wanted to be by now.

I failed at staying financially on track. Meal planning stopped halfway through the year, and I started relying on delivery, takeout, fast food, and unhealthy dinners more than I should have. I spent more than I should have on things that I didn’t need. I used my overall sadness as an excuse to indulge in shopping and food, hoping it would make me feel better. I hate myself for that.

Again, I’m not writing all this for anyone to feel sorry for me. I just want to be real. I want to heal, and the only way I can do that is by being honest and admitting that not everything is sunshine and rainbows. Life is hard, and there are ups and downs. I’m struggling being in a down longer than an up. I’ll pull out of it in time, I’m sure. Closing the chapter on 2015 feels like a great start. Writing this post helped sort out some feelings too. I do have hope that things will get better soon.

Here’s to you, 2016.

November 12, 2015

It’s time for the November edition of the Golden Vlog! This month, we’re talking about our jobs — our first jobs, current jobs, worst job, dream job and more. Watch my video below to learn about what I do for a living and that one time I did something really silly during work.

November’s Prompts
-What is your current job?
-What was your very first job?
-Growing up, what did you want to be?
-If you could have any job in the world, what would you do?
-What job would you definitely NOT want to have?
-Is there a certain profession that you admire a lot?
-What qualities do you think makes a good leader or boss?
-What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you at work?
-What advice would you give to current students now?
-What was the worst job you ever had?

 

Life w/ Mrs G & the Artist ~ Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin
Amanda Moments ~ Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Brave Love Blog ~ Instagram | Bloglovin | Twitter
Heaven’s to Betsy ~ Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
My Favorite AdventureTwitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Here are the rules:
1. You must follow your hosts on at least ONE form of social media to link up w/ us.

2. We want to see your face! How many times you roll your eyes, and if you talk with your hands! So link up a post featuring your VLOG answering this month’s questions! Please link up a post, not your blog’s home page, and be sure there is a VLOG (video blog) featured! This is the Golden Vlog after all 😉

3. Add the button below or a text link to one of the hosts to help us promote this crazy thing!

4. Spread the love! Go watch, listen and comment on other blogs and make some new friends! Share your links using hashtag #GoldenVlog on social media.

If you have any questions at all or want to be included on our monthly Golden Vlog Letter with next month’s questions, just email lifewithmrsgandtheartist@gmail.com.

*all links not featuring a vlog or this months questions will be removed!*


An InLinkz Link-up


Life w/ Mrs G & the Artist

Please join us again next month on December 10!

December Prompts
-What did you do for Thanksgiving this year?
-What are your plans for Christmas?
-What is your favorite holiday treat or meal?
-What is on your wish list this year?
-What’s the best gift you have ever received?
-Do you put up a Christmas tree or decorate? Do you wait till after Thanksgiving or do it before?
-What’s your favorite Christmas song?
-Must-see Christmas movies?
-What are some favorite traditions that you and your family have?

October 30, 2015

So yeah, I’m probably breaking the mold by not listing Christmas as my favorite holiday (and Christmas is great and all), but for the past several years, I’ve just really gotten more into the Halloween spirit than anything.

Why?

why halloween is the best

-SCARY MOVIE SEASON. In my house, it’s always scary movie season, but it’s really elevated to a new level in the month leading up to Halloween. For the last several years, I’ve watched Final Destination 1 and 2 on Halloween itself and made a point to watch a ton of new-to-me scary movies leading up to Oct. 31. Last year, I did a self-imposed scary movie challenge, and this year I’m making a point to watch ALL of the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th franchise movies.

-Scary TV show season too! I love that several networks dedicate the month to scary shows and movie marathons. Our DVR really piles up quickly this time of year. Aside from movies, I’m also enjoying new seasons of Ghost Hunters, Paranormal Witness and My Haunted House. I also hear there is a live exorcism on Destination America tonight, and you can bet I’ll be checking that out.

-There are no social norms dictating present-giving. I mean, I do love giving and receiving gifts, but Christmas really does a number on my wallet. And since I’m a cheapo, I like that this one is a free holiday. I don’t get trick-or-treaters at my apartment building, so I don’t even have to buy candy (other than for myself anyway, mwahaha!).

-It’s a pretty stress-free holiday as an adult without kids. No big family meals to plan or traveling expected. At most you get to plan a costume and maybe host a party, but it’s just as easy to not do anything at all, or join in others’ festivities.

-You can act like a kid for the day and dress up however you want. Free reign to channel my inner cat — score!

-It’s smack-dab in the middle between my birthday and my husband’s birthday, giving us even more permission to feel special and make it an excuse to celebrate and indulge.

-There is so much free candy to be found.

-The decorations are so much fun. I love the cobwebs, fake spiders, skeletons, witches that cackle when you walk by, mummies, pumpkins, etc. Sure, Christmas decorations might be prettier, but they’re way less fun.

-The weather is usually pretty great. No snow yet, but it’s still chilly enough to be able to snuggle up with some cider and a fuzzy blankie into the couch.

-Black cats.

Do you like Halloween?
What’s your favorite scary movie? (and I do really hope you said that in your head with the Scream voice.)

October 26, 2015

For this month’s Solidarity Sisters program, I was paired with Stephanie from the Wife Mommy Me blog, and she was such a gracious and kind person. She’s been blogging far longer than me, so I loved the chance to pick her brain. She helped me update my categories, which has been a task on my to-do list for many months. For our final week’s challenge, Stephanie had the genius idea to pair up for a joint fall-themed Currently post! So to kick off the week, we are joining Becky over at Choose Happy to share what’s going on in our lives this fall.

LOVING

Amanda: The new fall TV shows. It’s just so fun seeing which ones catch on and even which ones flop. I adore curling up on the couch with a blankie, cider and a kitty. I’m totally into the new Limitless show — it’s the surprise of the season in my book. I’m also enjoying the Last Man on Earth, Walking Dead,  Fargo, and The Muppets. I’ve already given up on The Bastard Executioner and Blood & Oil though.

Stephanie: Fall is when all my favorite shows come back from a summer hiatus. Nashville, Scandal and The Good Wife are a must! I’ve been watching Nashville and Scandal from day 1 and spent the bulk of this summer binge watching The Good Wife so I could watch it live when it returned this fall. I’ve picked up a few new shows too – Blood and Oil (I know Amanda gave up but I haven’t yet. I’m hoping it doesn’t disappoint me!), The Affair and Homeland on Showtime and I’m slowly working myself into Gilmore Girls. I’m on season 1 episode 3.

WEARING

Amanda: Scarves! I’m slowly embracing the start of fall with sweaters and scarves, but I’m still refusing to wear boots or jackets yet. I’m a summer lover and am trying to delay winter as much as I can!

Stephanie: Layers and sweaters and all the cozy pieces I couldn’t wear in Texas. James got me a Ohio Home T-shirt and I pretty much wear it any chance I get. It’s the softest t-shirt in the world. Like Amanda, I’m wearing scarves too and have been toying with the idea of getting CJ and I matching ones this Fall. Is that too much? … didn’t think so!

PLANNING

Amanda: My scary movie marathon for Halloween. I love scary movies, but I’ve only seen the recent ones lately. This year, I want to watch ALL the Freddy and Jason franchise flicks, so I just made a list of all the movies and have lots of watching to do. There are like 20 movies on the list! So far, I’ve made it through the first three Nightmare on Elm Streets and first three Friday the 13ths. They’re all really bad, but in such a great way.

Stephanie: The last details on Connor’s party that’s on Saturday. I can’t believe he is going to be 3 on Friday! How in the world is that possible! I’m also already thinking of Christmas party ideas for MOPS. I volunteered to plan our December play date and MNO and I have all these ideas (per the norm) and I can’t wait to celebrate the holiday with my group.

EATING

Amanda: Enjoy Life Soft Baked Snickerdoodle cookies. I just did a major haul at Natural Grocers and tried a bunch of new healthy snacks. These babies are clear winners! I also tried a Japanese sweet potato for the first time I got from there, and it was all sorts of delicious. I also got sucked in by their marketing to reserve an organic Thanksgiving turkey, and I’m actually really excited about preparing my first turkey this year!

Stephanie: Fiber One Bars in Pumpkin and Cinnamon Coffee Cake. On mornings when we have to be out of the house early, I’ll grab one of those, a banana and my coffee and hit the road. The Cinnamon Coffee Cake ones are so good. Like so good I could eat them for dessert.

READING

Amanda: I recently finished The Martian, and it was AMAZING! Since then, I picked up How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, and am actually a little disappointed. It’s stranger than I was expecting. Next up: Fates & Furies for book club.

Stephanie: A month of so ago, I shared my Fall reading list and in true bookworm fashion, I’ve read 5 out of 6 books listed. I need to read Go Set a Watchmen still but haven’t been able to get into the book so far. I put that and All The Light We Can Not See on the back burner and am currently reading For The Love by Jen Hatmaker. I need to read 5 books by December 31st to reach my goal of 40 books this year. I’m thinking from here on out, I won’t be reading anything too heavy.

What’s currently going on in your world?

I really adore the Solidarity Sisters program that Susannah puts on and totally encourage you to give it a go! The next round is open for sign-up on Susannah’s blog now — just click on the button below and join:)

 

SolidaritySister

 

October 14, 2015

As I mentioned previously, my hair has thinned drastically since I went off birth control a year ago. I tried lots of things to make it less obvious, from supplements to special shampoos to a hair cut and none did anything noticeable. I became so self-conscious about it and hated my hair so much that I stopped wearing it down entirely. For the past few months, I’ve been pulling it back or pinning it up just so no one would see how bad it had become. I became so frustrated with not being able to do anything with it, and I really missed wearing it down, but I just couldn’t. It looked thin and limp and pathetic.

My doctors did say they see new growth (finally) coming back in, but it sure is taking its sweet time growing out. I was sick of waiting, so I decided to do something drastic. I got extensions. I think the below pictures speak for themselves.

before and after extensions

What a big difference, right? I feel so good about my hair again and I feel so much freedom in being able to wear it down. Extensions were foreign to me, and I’m still getting used to them, but I can say with confidence that they’re worth it as I wait for my own hair to grow back in again.

Going into this, I had NO idea what to expect. None of my friends have extensions, and the only ones I’ve noticed on others before looked terrible — you know, those DIY clip-in ones that you can totally tell are fake. I was terrified about that. But as you can see, these actually look natural and blend in.

My Experience

First, I had to find the right place to get my extensions. I knew of several salons that offered them, but I found one in particular that specialized in hair loss solutions for women going through medical challenges (such as alopecia or cancer). I wanted someone who “got it” and knew what they were doing. This wasn’t just a fun beauty enhancement for me. This was my last-ditch effort to not go off the deep end, emotionally, about my hair. (And yes, I know I’m being dramatic. For the record, I acknowledge that it must be even harder for women going through awful things like cancer, but for me personally, I needed something to make me feel pretty again, because I just felt really ugly and down about myself like I never had before.)

Luckily, April at Final Touches in Fargo, was the perfect person for me. Because this is her specialty, she really knows her stuff. She gets it. She’s sympathetic and she wants to help make women feel beautiful again.

We had an initial consultation, where she explained why my options were, what to expect, offered more advice about how to naturally get my own hair growing back in quicker and let me ask a bajillion questions. She felt my hair, heard my story, and said that I was a great candidate for tape-in extensions.

She told me about the other kinds, but after hearing about how the others worked and felt, I agreed tape was the way to go. She swatched my hair and noted my shade so she could order my new hair in my exact current color. I told her that I didn’t want anything drastic. I just wanted something to make my hair look like how it used to before it thinned. No high-end European hair, no highlights, no curls, no long length. Just enough to blend in well so I could wear it down without looking pathetic (see above before photo).

For reference, this is what my natural hair used to look like before this birth control mess:

engagment pic

When the day come to get the extensions in, I was so nervous. I was scared I’d still hate them. I was scared you’d be able to see them. I was scared it would hurt. I was scared they wouldn’t look natural. But I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

That morning, April washed my hair because it needed to be super clean before applying the extensions. I got blow-dried, then she pinned everything up so just a little was left down near the base of my neck.

The extensions themselves are real human hair, but they’re treated and cut into small sections about an inch wide, with adhesive at the top, kind of like double-switch tape. With each bit, she peeled off the paper and applied the sticky side of the hair to my own hair. There are about four rows of hair that were applied at the back of my head and two rows on the sides. She left a nice layer on the very top of my head free so that it would cover up the tape.

during extensions

The extensions came in pretty long — I think she said they were 16 inches. Once all the sections had been applied, she cut them down to the length I wanted, which was just a bit below the shoulders, and added some subtle layers and face framing to blend it. Then she styled it all, and that was that!

after extensions

Now that they’re in, I love them. In fact, I think they look better than my hair ever did before!

I can still wash, comb and style my extensions; I just have to do it more carefully than without them.

This application should last for anywhere from 1 to 3 months, depending how fast my hair grows out and how well I care for the extensions (frequent washing breaks down the adhesive, so I’ll try to do it only a couple times a week). Once they start getting loose or visible as my hair grows, I’ll go back in and April will take them out with a special solution that gets rid of the adhesive, then re-apply them. I can wear this same batch of hair about four times if I care for it well. That should get me a full year’s use of them if all goes perfect, though it likely will be more like 9 months.

Sleeping with them is a little awkward because I can feel the tape parts pressing against my head on the pillow, so I just arrange my head till I find a good spot to lay. Though it’s weird, I did sleep well enough in them, so that’s good. April did say that with some of the other kinds of extensions, sleeping can be much more uncomfortable.

Otherwise, going about my daily business, I do feel them in but it’s not too distracting. There’s a slight pull because the hair is hanging on to my roots, but the more I wear them, the more I get used to it. I can pull it back into a loose pony, but I can’t wear it up high or else the tape pulls up, and since it’s supposed to lay flat, that just doesn’t work very well.

There is one piece that is close enough to my ear on one side that I can’t tuck it behind my ear, so I think I might have her remove that one. Although I do love all the volume of hair, I may also get one less layer on the bottom in back next time so it’s less to worry about and is closer to my usual thickness anyway.

She did say that the very first time is kind of a trial to find out how it feels, how to best care for it, and how I like it done. Now for the re-application in a couple months I’ll be better able to tell her how I prefer it.

My hope is that after this batch is no longer usable, my hair will have grown out enough on its own to not even need them anymore. I do not want to have to wear these forever; it’s more of a short-term solution so I don’t hate myself as I wait for my own hair to grow back. In the meantime, I’m very thankful that this solution does exist and works so well, and that April was so talented to apply them beautifully.

It’s really nice to have hair that makes me feel confident again, and overall, the experience has been great! Now I just wait and see how long these last, what the re-application process is like and how long it takes my hair to grow back.

October 7, 2015

Welp I’ve joined the 30 club. Turns out it feels just like 29, which did actually take me by surprise. To celebrate, we had an Alice in Wonderland-inspired tea party. Because sometimes it just feels good to act like a kid even as an adult.

Photo dump commence.

the table

eat me cupcakes

drink me

dont step on the mome raths

mer and topher

eat me cookies

cal and amanda 2

amanda and amy

book club

tweedles

were all mad here sign

We held the event at the Spirit Room downtown, which is this funky, old building converted into an art exhibit and yoga studio. They accommodated my request for a super long table for all, and I think the space was perfect.

I hired my good friend to make the eat me cupcakes and cookies, photo booth props, mome raths and signage. I picked out about 10 of my favorite quotes and lines from the movie, which she printed out and framed to put on the tables. I bought a ton of tea cups, platters and pots from the thrift store, and my friend found jumbo-sized playing cards to use as place mats. We played the movie soundtrack in the background and closed the afternoon with some Alice in Wonderland trivia, complete with fruit tarts for the winner. It was all very lovely and I’m glad I got to fulfill a childhood dream and have some fun with turning 30.

October 1, 2015

Today is my 30th birthday. I say that with both a bit of trepidation and a bit of excitement. Even though I’m a decade older, I still feel young at heart. Within the past year especially, I really feel like I’ve grown tremendously as a person and I’m pretty proud of the adult I’m becoming. Adulting can be hard, but the longer I live, the more I learn. Here are 30 things I know so far.

30 things i know

1. Loving yourself, truly deeply, is so much easier said than done, but it sure does help to remember that no one is perfect and you’re pretty great.

2. Friendships are a tough thing sometimes, but the best ones are worth fighting for, and the toxic ones are worth dumping.

3. Life is too short to spend your time doing things you hate.

4. Above all, making your marriage your top priority, is so important.

5. It’s OK to eat dessert first sometimes. In fact, I encourage it.

6. Your pets’ lives are even shorter than your own. Cherish every moment with your furry friends.

7. You should do at least one thing every single day that brings you joy.

8. Serve others when you can. Make a positive impact on the world.

9. Reading and watching TV is great, but the best escape is a conversation with your loved one.

10. There are a lot better uses of your time than using it worrying what others think.

11. Travel is one of the best things you can do for yourself, even if it means taking a brief financial hit.

12. You really should treat yourself to a giant fruity adult beverage with an umbrella for getting through yet another work week.

13. “Things” do not matter. Purge the clutter as much as you can.

14. A funny cat video can make almost anything better.

15. When you look good, you feel good. Dress how you want to feel. Good.

16. Appreciate nature. Even a short walk to take in the crisp fall air, or a summertime picnic, can do wonders for the soul.

17. Have no shame about doing childlike things sometime regardless of your age. Like having a tea party, building a fort or putting a juice box in your lunch bag.

18. Watch cartoons after a scary movie to help prevent nightmares.

19. Be sexual. Be confident.

20. Never be afraid of asking for help.

21. If your mind ever feels too crowded, take some time to sit back, close your eyes and meditate. Just allow your mind to wander without distractions. Journal if it helps. Get it out. You will feel better.

22. Not all healthy food tastes bad. Try new things because you might be pleasantly surprised.

23. If someone inspires you, tell them that. If someone made you smile, tell them that. Thank others for being awesome. It might just make their day.

24. Regular massages are one of the best indulgences you can buy yourself, and they are worth budgeting for.

25. Coupons are great, but just because you have one doesn’t mean you have to use it.

26. Facebook is a time suck. Unfriend/unfollow those who do not add something positive to your feed. Life is too short to be bombarded with hateful political rants from that guy you know from somewhere but you can’t even remember what from. While you’re at it, try turning off all push notifications.

27. Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. Just keep a level head.

28. Take time to appreciate the beautiful things in life. Like fall colors in the trees, summertime flowers, kindness from others, the art of dance, a frothy coffee or Channing Tatum.

29. The ’90s were the best decade for music, movies and TV.

30. 30 is going to be my best decade yet. I just know it.

Stay tuned next week for a recap of the amazingly awesome festivities going on to celebrate my being alive for three whole decades.

Special thank you to my husband for being awesome and supportive. I’m so glad to have you in my corner and in my life.

September 24, 2015

Welp, it’s fall. I would be more excited by that if it didn’t mean winter was just around the corner. Because in Fargo, we get about one month of fall and then five to six months of winter. Yay.

About the only thing that makes me truly happy about fall is that scary movies and TV shows are in full swing. I’ve been watching Ghost Hunters, Paranormal Witness and My Haunted House to get in the mood before we hit the horror movies hard. Last year, we watched a bunch of the Jason and Freddy movies because I actually had never seen the originals and now I want to watch them all.

I’ve been trying hard to remember my promise to invest in me, and I think I’ve been moderately successful with it. When my back was killing me a couple weeks ago, instead of whining about it, I decided it was time to finally go to a chiropractor. For the first time ever, so that was intimidating. I was nervous they were going to snap my neck and kill me, like they do in the movies, but I’m still alive, so that’s good. I’ve also fit in a few extra massages, hot bubble baths with wine and simplified TV time, only watching the shows I really care about instead of the ones that just fill time. I actually stopped meal planning (gasp!) because it was stressing me out, and I’ve found it freeing to wing dinner every night. Yes, sometimes it means cold cereal or stopping by Little Caesars, but that’s OK.

A couple weeks ago when my self-confidence hit an all-time low and I literally cried to Cal about how much I hate my thinning hair (thanks, birth control jerk), I decided to be proactive about it instead of a cry-baby. And so I have an appointment for this weekend to get extensions. Nothing drastic; just enough to fill it out to what my hair was like before my body revolted against me and to get me through till the new growth gets far enough down to be noticeable. I’m actually really nervous about it because I’ve never had extensions before and am scared that I’ll hate them. But, I figure that I already hate my hair now, so may as well give this a shot because it can’t get much worse. Fingers crossed.

I also found the joy in reading for pleasure again. Turns out it just takes the right book and right attitude. I recently finished The Book of Unknown Americans for book club and it was quite enlightening and enjoyable. I felt so good that I soon moved on to the next one — The Martian. Know how good The Martian is? So good that I read it ALL in one weekend. In fact, 90% of that was in one day. I picked it up Saturday, read to page 50 before the husband came home, and then I read the entire rest of it on Sunday. I tried to put it down once Sunday to make something else of my day, but I couldn’t. It kept nagging at me that I just had to know what happened next. Guys, I haven’t plowed through a book that quickly for a looong time. Gone Girl was amazing and I read that quickly too, but probably over the course of two weeks. The Martian just got to me and I was fascinated by it. I definitely recommend. Also, I found this article super interesting too, if you’re curious how realistic the plot is to what it would really be like on Mars.

This is how my whole day’s been so far: snuggling these two guys and reading the Martian. It’s so good I can’t put it down! #lazysunday #reading #themartian #snugglypets #petsandbooks

A photo posted by Amanda (@amandahofland) on

I am so pumped for the movie and I know it’s going to be ah-mazing.

I’m pretty happy with some of the new fall TV shows so far. Scream Queens was actually way more delightful than I was even hoping for, and I kind of love it. It’s and humorous and weird and awkward and gross, but in the best way. Life in Pieces was also really funny, so I think these two will be added to my regular lineup. I’m on the fence about Bastard Executioner though. It was just OK — I didn’t love it as much I wanted to, but we’ll give it another episode or two before I jump ship.

P.S. Did you catch my guest post on Amberly’s blog about the perks of being married to a musician? I’d love if you checked it out!

What are you up to lately?