Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What's Up Wednesday.

Hey hey friends!  It's What's Up Wednesday with Mel, Sheaffer and Shay!  

Every month we answer a few questions about what's been going on this month... here goes!


Monday, February 26, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday Favorites #47.

Happy Friday, girls!!  I am so excited for my weekend!!  I'm taking the boys to my hometown (Texarkana, TX) for my BFF's baby shower!  This girl deserves an entire post devoted to her, her adventures and her crazy love story so I may share that next week.  

I don't get to see her very much since she lives in Louisiana now but every time we see each other, it's like no time has passed.

That's definitely the mark of a true best friend forever. :)


Today I'm linking up with Erika, Narci and Andrea for my favorite picks of the week!


Thursday, February 22, 2018

How I Do Kids Birthday Gifts.

Hey friends! Today I'm dropping in quickly to talk about something that used to stress me out BIG TIME.

I'm talking about birthday gifts.

No, not for my own kids...for the birthday parties my kids are invited to.

I don't know about you but finding time to shop for a birthday gift for someone else's child stresses me out.  I don't know what they like. I don't know what they already have.  And in true Amanda fashion, I usually forget about the party until the last minute.  ;)

Someday I'll be super organized.  #someday


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

TV Talk on Tuesday.

Happy Tuesday, friends!  

Today I'm linking up with Erika and Ashley to bring you a little Tuesday Talk.  Tuesday TV Talk to be more precise.

This is not what I had planned to chat about today but yesterday I decided to try out a new show on Hulu and landed on this one.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Favorites #46.

Helllloooooo FRIDAY!!  I can't wait until you are O.V.E.R.

This week has been long.  I feel like it's been one thing after another that is being thrown at me and I am doing a steady swing-and-a-miss with each one.

I've written several paragraphs complaining about why I feel you should NEVER put Teacher Appreciation Week on the same week as the Valentine's Day madness but I keep deleting them because I sound....less than sweet.  ;) 

Let's just say it's way too much to remember and Teacher Appreciation Week is no longer just bringing your teacher a gift at the end of the week.  #becausethatwouldbetooeasy

Anyway, since my week has been long, my Favorites list is going to be short.  I honestly just couldn't come up with a ton of favorites this week.

These sweet boys will always be my favorite though.  

On Wednesday, I joined the boys at their class parties...


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, friends!!  

For the record, I actually stopped at CVS on Valentine's Day last year for something random (and possibly a card of my own....) and this really was what I saw.  


Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday Morning Mashup. {Basketball & A Murder Mystery Party}

Happy Monday, friends!  Hope you all had a great weekend!  Our weekend went by so fast.  There really should be a day between Saturday and Sunday.

I went back through my pictures from this weekend to see what all I had actually done since Friday and here's what I found:

Friday I took no pictures.  The boys played with their friends from the second they got home until we had to finally drag them home.  I made tacos for Mason.  Craig met up with some friends at the clubhouse.  And we all laid around like lazy bums until it was time for bed.

Saturday I didn't do much better.  It was ice cold for one and that makes me want to do nothing except curl up under a giant blanket next to a fire.  But instead, I caught up on laundry.  I worked on some teacher gifts for Teacher Appreciation this week.  And then Mason had a basketball game.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday Favorites #45. {Book Review}

Happy Friday, friends!  I hope you've all had a great week!  We've had a really great week despite getting a call from the school nurse at 9am on Monday morning.  Mason had been coughing some and a little snotty over the weekend but it seemed like a basic cold.  The nurse called to say his pulse-ox was 92 which is apparently bad.  And that he was wheezing.  So back to doctor we went.  Twice in less than a month for the same thing.

There's not much that gets this kid down.

Our doctor said that if he comes back in wheezing one more time in the next month or so he'll be officially diagnosed with viral-induced asthma and he'll have to do an inhaler once a day at least during the cold months.  Right now, he's only having to use it when he's sick.  But it's definitely looking like viral-induced asthma because this happens a lot with him. It could be worse for sure though so we're not complaining.  :)

Anyway, today I'm linking up with Narci, Erika, and Andrea for Friday Favorites and since I have been meaning to do a book review for a while now I thought this would be a great time to do it.

And remember...I "read" a lot.  But I am only able to get through so many books so quickly because I'm an Audible girl.  Go HERE to learn more about why I love Audible and how to get 2 books for free during a free trial period.  I'm telling you girls. If you love to read but just don't have time to sit down and focus on a book, TRY THIS!!  Listen in the car (headphones may be necessary if you are in there with other people), while you are doing laundry, the dishes, getting ready in the morning or at night.  My dad was so hesitant about this and thought he'd hate it but he is now just as obsessed as I am.  Seriously.  Go here (and then come back) to read what Audible is all about.

Book time.  #yay

I haven't done a full book review since September.  Eeek.  I've read 16 books since then!  I won't include them all here because we'd be here forever.  But you can always follow along with what I'm reading on my Goodreads account here.  I keep it current so if you're ever wondering what I'm reading now, it'll be there.  :)  (I just started Andy Cohen's "Most Talkative".)

So here are some of the books I thought were worth mentioning.  Since we don't want to be here forever, you can click the title of each book to take you straight to Amazon where you can find the official summary and add it to your cart or wishlist if you want.  I always keep a running wish list going on Amazon!

Let's start with Suspense/Thriller/Crime Dramas.

The Secrets She Keeps was really good!  The story revolves around two pregnant women and the friendship they develop.  You quickly realize that one of these girls is absolutely crazy.  The book follows both of their stories.  One happily married with the perfect family and one wishing for everything the other has.  The crazy one will stop at nothing to make her dreams come true...  

You won't be able to put it down.  If you love these type of books, be sure to look into this one!

I may have posted about this one before but I felt it was worth mentioning again.  If you haven't read The Couple Next Door then you MUST add it to your list!!

A couple's baby goes missing from their home while they are next door at a dinner party.  As if that isn't enough to send your blood pressure through the roof, secrets start piling up between both sets of neighbors and before long you are doing your best to piece it all together.  Don't worry though.  Just when you think you have it alllll figured out---BAM.  You're hit with another secret.  This book doesn't let up until the very end.  If you love thrillers, you'll love this one!

If you love psychological thrillers then there are two books that you MUST read.  The two above are amazing.  But The Last Mrs. Parrish and The Wife Between Us stand out above the rest in my opinion.  These are by far the two books that had my mouth gaping open in shock more than any other.

I love the line in the Amazon summary.  "Some women get everything.  Some women get everything they deserve."  #slowclap

I keep trying to summarize this book without giving away any spoilers and I just can't do it so click the title to find the official Amazon summary.  Just know that this book follows through and will leave you completely satisfied in the end.  And will leave your mouth hanging wide open in shock.  Just do it!

You know when you read a book and you LOVE LOVE LOVE it and then you start recommending it to your friends...but then you start second guessing yourself and hoping they love it as much as you because you really did LOVE LOVE LOVE it but what if they don't?  Yeah.  That's how I feel with this one. I have been recommending this one to ALLLL my reader girlfriends but I don't think any have read it yet.  I need reassurance that it's amazing!!  

If you've read The Last Mrs. Parrish and loved it then you especially have to read this book.  Without giving anything away, here is what one reviewer said:

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. 
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage - and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
Read between the lies.
Y'all.  This is currently my favorite book from 2018.  Yes, it's only February.  But I loved it even more than The Last Mrs. Parrish and that is the one getting all the attention right now.  This one--in my opinion--takes it to a whole other level.  
I still remember when they dropped the first big twist.  I was sitting at my computer, working on an order and listening to this book and when they dropped that bomb, my jaw literally dropped open for a solid 30 seconds.  I had to pause the book and think about what just happened.  And from then on the hits just kept on coming.  
This book is just so smart.  If you love to try to figure it all out, good luck on this one.  I love that you get the big "hits" towards the middle of the book and then the rest of the book slowly pieces together all these tiny things that just make you go "whoa!".  Some people don't like this from what I've read in reviews but I loved it.  It was different.  And I love different!
If you've read this, please let me know how you liked it in the comments!  And if you haven't, find it here!

Moving on to Chick Lit we have....
Kristan Higgins.
I randomly stumbled upon her books last summer and the first one I read was If You Only Knew followed immediately by On Second Thought.  I LOVED those two books and those were definitely in my 10 ten list from 2017.  After that, I became obsessed with her books.  They just made me feel good.  Sometimes you just need to go to a happy place and that's what her books do.  
Those first two I read from her were solid 5/5 stars.  However the next few were really good but they didn't stand out in any way.  4/5 stars. 
And then I read her new book, Now That You Mention It, and once again I fell hard for KH.  Once again, she got a 5/5 from me.  The book has so much drama but it never feels like it's too much.  It's got a great mix of chick lit and thriller/suspense/crime in it that will keep you totally absorbed.
You've got a love story, a hit and run, a break-in and assault, PTSD, a sordid past that shows up in the present, high school crushes, guns, knives, police, houseboats and a big sweet dog.  And those are just the things I remember off the top of my head.
This is such a great option if you are looking for a middle area between chick-lit and drama.

Ok y'all.  WHY did it take me so long to finally read this book?  I think maybe subconsciously I was scared it wouldn't live up to the hype?  I'm not sure.  All I know is that it absolutely, 100% DID live up to the hype and you should read it.  Don't be a fool like I was and put it off.  DO. IT.
This book is about a couple who is adorable and hopelessly in love.  They get married.  They travel.  They do all the fun, amazing things they had been planning on doing at this stage in their life.  Until the day before their wedding anniversary when the husband gets on a helicopter and it goes down over the ocean.  No survivors are found.  Devastation ensues.
Years later, Emma finds herself finally moving on and in love again.  This time with Sam.  They are planning their wedding and Sam is just everything you'd want him to be.  And then she gets a call from Jesse. Who she thinks is dead.  And all hell breaks loose.
I will tell you that halfway through this book I could not IMAGINE a situation in which everyone ends up happy.  I just couldn't fathom it.  I just kept thinking "How on earth will this book end that will make this all ok?!".  Both men are fighting for Emma.  Emma loves them both.  One is from her past and one is her present.  HOW?!  
And then somehow, it does.  It resolves itself in the most perfect way and you finish the book not wanting to cry into your pillow.  #sothatsgood

And finally on to autobiographies.
I know I swore I would not listen to another Teresa Guidice book on Audible because she reads like a 1st grader but I gave in and went for it (again) with her latest book, Standing Strong.  Thank the Lord, it was nowhere near as painful as listening to her read her last one.  
(This picture is so blurry, I know!  So sorry!)
I love Teresa.  I think she has a good heart underneath it all.  This book is about her life after prison as a single mother.  Joe's gone to prison himself, her parents are both seriously ill in the hospital and her mother passes away.  When she talks about these painful things in her life, my heart truly breaks for her.  She puts up such a front all the time but lately, she seems to be letting her guard down some and showing us that she's not perfect all the time.  She has emotions.  She has feelings.  She gets pissed off.  She gets scared.  She worries.  And y'all know I LOVE real people.  So when she lets that side of her show, my heart just went out to her.
The loss of her mother was just awful.  You will cry.  And hearing about her resentment towards Joe...I love that she's finally able to admit that.
So if you are a RHONJ fan, I (surprisingly) recommend this one!  Turning the Tables was good too but DO NOT listen to that one on Audible.  It will make your ears bleed.  #notevenkidding
And finally, if you love Chip and JoJo, then you'll love this book.  Chip narrates it himself on Audible and he's just so funny.  I love his stories and hearing him explain in his own words, why he knew it was time to let Fixer Upper go.  This family is such an inspiration to so many people and in so many different ways.  If you read The Magnolia Story (which I also loved and highly recommend), then you'll love Capital Gaines.

So those are my favorites from the past 5 months.  If you are on the desktop site, you can click on the label "books" or "book review" for mentions of books from different posts.  
Follow me on Goodreads here.
Instagram @amandanall and @thatinspiredchick
Twitter: @amandanall
FB group here.
And if you are a bookworm like me then you might need this cute sign from my Etsy shop!
#justsayin ;)
I'm always open to suggestions on what to read next!  Let me know in the comments! And don't forget to check out my Audible love post HERE to see if you might love it too!
Happy Friday, y'all!


Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Day in the Life. {The Confessions Series}

Hey friends!  Today is another post from my Confessions Series!  I'll link the previous Confessions posts at the bottom in case you missed any but for today, I decided to confess a day in my life.

Spoiler Alert:  It's anything but fascinating.  I almost decided not to even bother posting it but oh well.

I've never done a typical "Day in the Life" post on here before because, in all honesty, my daily life is pretty dull.  My kids go to school, my husband works from home and I do too.  So a normal day for me usually goes something like this:

Kids leave for school.

I check Etsy messages, blogs, emails, social media accounts etc for at least 30 minutes while I wait for my coffee concoction to work its magic.

I go upstairs to my workroom and glitter, paint, answer more Etsy messages, update listings, package items, print shipping labels, and order inventory while listening to an audiobook or watching a TV show.

Kids come home from school (they ride bikes or walk) and immediately go back out to play with friends.

And then our nights are always a little different depending on practices and games.

So for today's post, I picked a day where I had caught up on orders and didn't have a ton that needed to go out that day.  But you will still see how boring my days are. ;)  

So here goes!

{This was Monday, January 29th.  Craig was in Colorado on a ski trip with his friends so it was just me and the boys.}

7:00am wake up.  Yes, you heard that right.  I don't wake up before 7 hardly ever.  It was tempting to put in here that I wake up at 6 and do all these things before the kids get up but nope.  I sleep.  #thisisme

I feel like it's also important to remind y'all that I don't normally even go to bed until midnight or later.  #nightowl

Anyway, the boys' alarm goes off at 7 as well.  They get dressed on their own and come downstairs. I don't care what they wear as long as it is weather appropriate.  (And then sometimes not even then.  Want to wear shorts when it's 40 degrees?  Fine.  Bet you'll never do it again.)

Matthew helps me make his lunch.  He'll be 10 in May.  I no longer do #allthethings for my kids.  I'm pretty big on teaching them to do things for themselves and be independent.  I usually cut Matthew's strawberries while he fills up the rest of his lunch box.  Mason always prefers the cafeteria food which is fine with me.

Clearly time for another haircut too.

After they've eaten breakfast (usually cereal, waffles or scrambled eggs), they go to the half-bath and brush their teeth, put on deodorant and do their hair.  I learned early on that keeping an extra stash of these things in this downstairs bathroom is much more practical than sending them back upstairs to do this.  When you are pressed for time, it's much better to keep these two in your sight.

Matthew decided to make fun of Mason's hair on this particular morning.  Poor Mase.  His hair is so coarse and curly and Matthew's is the total opposite.  I thought my baby looked precious though with his weird little swoop. 

This picture reminds me of Christian from Clueless for some reason!  Do y'all remember him?

Mason is definitely not lacking in personality.  Normal pictures where his eyes aren't crossed and he's not making a face are few and far between these days.

After Matthew put on his hoodie, he had to go back and re-do his hair.

I dropped the boys off around 7:45.  When it's warmer they ride their bikes but it was pretty chilly that morning.

I got home and looked down at the time.  7:49.

I pulled some boxes of stuff to donate closer to the front door in hopes that they would make it OUT the door before too much longer.

And then sat down to work on the computer.  (Blog, messages, social media and new designs for the shop.)

Abby joined me after a while. 


I had an orthodontist appointment at 11 so I got in the shower.  I still have my Christmas curtain hanging because I love it so much.  Behind the curtain is actually a glass door but since the boys are constantly walking in my bathroom, I thought that hooking a shower curtain over the door would be a good idea.  That way they can still come in while I'm in there to ask me a question or tell me something without the shock of seeing their mom in the buff. ;)

Ready for the day in my favorite Target shirt.  

And my favorite jeans and Skechers Go Walks.

Y'all may remember that I got braces on my bottom teeth in September.  I was told they'd need to be on for 10 months.  But I actually got them off before Christmas!  I only had them for 3 months.  #hallelujah 

I was the biggest baby about those darn braces.  They hurt.  They were uncomfortable.  I was constantly getting sores along the inside of my lips and brackets were breaking off left and right.  I was OVER IT.  

So this day was my LAST VISIT!! It was just a check to make sure my retainer was working and that everything still looked good. I was given the all clear and that was that!  Yay!! 

To celebrate, I stopped at Fuzzy's that just opened right by my orthodontist's office and in our neighborhood.

I ordered the chicken quesadillas and took my lunch home to enjoy in front of the TV.  

Let me stop here and say that none of this is ever in a typical day for me.  I NEVER have time like this to just sit around and do nothing. It felt AMAZING.  I wish I could do this every day! But like I said earlier, I chose a day where I didn't have to work all day long so that you might find it slightly more interesting. ;)

I sat at the kitchen counter to eat and was happy to see a Vanderpump Rules marathon!

After I ate, it was time to actually do some work.  I photographed some new wine glasses...

...and then sat down to work on several more.  All while watching Vanderpump Rules and screaming at Jax for being a jerk. Working from home is the best.

When these two finished drying, I snapped a quick pic of them as well before getting them packed up. 

And I still absolutely adore these skinny stainless steel tumblers.  I use mine for coffee in the mornings without the straw and water in the afternoons with the straw.  They come in a ton of colors and personalization options too so check them out in the shop!

(Still wearing my $5 Walmart slippers because they are so cozy!  I've got two pairs now but I think I need to grab a third.  At $5, they aren't going to last forever.)

A little after 3, I walked outside to wait for the boys to get home.  My neighbor had just gotten home as well and was outside checking the mail with sweet Winston!  There is just nothing cuter than a puppy.  Except maybe a baby.  #itsatie

When the boys got home, we sat around the living room while I threw out my usual questions to try to find out about their day.

How was your day?  Good.
What'd you do today?  Nothing.
Did you do anything fun?  No.
Who did you play with on the playground?  I don't remember.


Mason ran out the door to play with friends and Matthew relaxed with some Minecraft videos.

I went back upstairs to work a little more until it was time to get dinner started.  Mason could eat tacos every single night if I'd let him.  He's totally my kid.  We'd had tacos the night before and had leftover taco meat so he said he wanted tacos again.  Easy enough.

He's in a crunchy taco phase at the moment.

Craig sent me a few pictures from his trip and told me he was feeling sick.  Poor guy had altitude sickness the whole time he was there.  

After he sent me his picture, I sent him a picture of what we were doing...

Homework.  I HATE homework.  Do they not learn enough being in school 40 hours a week?  I'm only half-joking.

Mason is one of the top students in his class which makes me so proud. 

I just wish he'd take his homework a little more seriously.  ;)

While the boys worked on homework, I tackled the dishwasher.

And then helped Matthew finish off the last bit of his homework.  This smart boy can do long division in his head (like 73 divided by 487 type problems) but can't seem to get the hang of writing it out so he can show his work.  #smartpeopleproblems

And this is where the pictures stopped.  Homework is always a little stressful.  When they got it done it was time for showers and bed.  Both boys were in bed with lights out by 8:30.  Whoop whoop!!

Craig sent me another picture of all the guys at dinner.  Even with altitude sickness, he had a great time.  Although he's hoping for a golf trip next time. ;)

If I hadn't been snuggled up in our bed, all cozy with Abby (she always sleeps at the foot of the bed), a glass of wine in my hand and ready to start my Monday night shows (The Bachelor and Vanderpump Rules), I might have been jealous.

While I watched, I worked on a blog post, prepped designs that needed to be cut the next day, and browsed Facebook and Instagram.  I love using this time to cram in as much computer related work as I can to give me a jump start on the next day.  If there's a way to multitask, I'm doing it.

Around 11:45, I had the lights out and Friends playing on my earbuds under my pillow.  I'm pretty sure I was alseep within minutes.

So that was Monday, January 29th, 2018.  Not a typical day for me at all but you wouldn't be interested in a typical day, I promise!  It's even more boring than this.  ;)

My other Confessions posts:

Have a confessions post of your own?  Feel free to link up below! 

See you back here tomorrow for a Friday Favorites Book Review!