Thursday, September 29, 2011

10 Things I Love #3

1. All of's gentle yet effective skin care products.  If you have any problems with acne at all, I highly suggest that you check out this site.

2. Great Danes.  They are just so huge!  I feel like nobody would ever mess with me if I had one of these always by my side.  I guess this one is a little random, but I have always wanted to have another enormous dog ever since my childhood dog, Mindy died.

3. Jelly shoes.  I was completely obsessed with these as a kid and I think it would totally NOT be weird if I bought some new or vintage ones in my size.

How about these?

4. Isn't this just the most perfect '50s dress ever?  If I could re-do my sweet 16 all over again, this is what I would wear... except my sweet 16 was a pool party so I guess that would have been a little bit inappropriate.

5. Oxford heels.

How gorgeous are these?  Too bad they cost the same as two months of rent.

Luckily there are more affordable options such as this super adorable pair from Forever 21

6. This gorgeous nail color from Chanel.  It's spot on with fall's new nail color trends.

7. This little embroidered pouch purse is so pretty!  Too bad it's already been sold :(

8.  This series of photos done by Laura of the blog Make Do & Mend.  She lives in an old convent that has been converted into an apartment building.  How cool!  Click the link to see all of the amazing photos and read about how she achieved this effect.

9. These super cute and crafty DIYs on how to jazz up your vintage luggage.  Found on Oh So Lovely Vintage.  If I ever happen upon a plain vintage suitcase during one of my thrifting adventures, I know how I'll be decorating it!

10. Nest Rest.  I can envision many, many hours spent curled up in one of these, reading a book and sipping tea.  One site refers to it as a birdhouse for humans.  I can't decide if I like that idea or not.

If you have a recent list of favorites, I would love for you to share the link with me.  I hope you are having a bright and sunshiny day!



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fair Ivy

Hello lovelies!

I am here to share with you a really neat concept that I recently came across online.  It's called Fair Ivy.  The whole idea is that you can pay a flat price and receive one package full of mostly handmade goodies or you can pay a monthly fee and receive a subscription to Fair Ivy which will get you a new goody bag each month. 

You can also buy surprise packages for your man, dog, cat, or teen.  Click the one of the links above to find out more!


Monday, September 26, 2011

The A to Z of Me

Here I am, jumping on the blogging bandwagon again.  Just call me bandwagon girl!  And yes, if all the other bloggers jumped off a bridge, I would do it too.

A. Age: 23. Does that mean I have to act like a grown up now?
B. Bed size: Full.  In my opinion, it's way too small.
C. Chore that you hate: Dishes.  They always smell bad.  There's just something about food mixed with water that grosses me out.
D. Dogs: We have two family dogs back home. Winston is a corgi and Zoe is a sheltie.  Zoe is really dumb and Winston always sneezes on me but they are my babies and I miss them all the time :(
E. Essential start to your day: A shower.  I don't like to go anywhere out in public (unless I'm out exercising) before having a shower.  I wash my hair every day even though I guess it would be better for it if I didn't.
F. Favorite color: I love anything that's colorful.  My favorite colors in general are blue and green.  My favorite color to wear in clothing is red.  There's just something about a bright red dress that makes me feel so classy and sexy.
G. Gold or Silver: Uuuummm probably silver if I had to choose.  I have started recently wearing a lot more gold toned jewelry though.
H. Height: 5 foot 1 and a half inches.  I'm a shorty but I don't mind because I can wear crazy tall heels and they will make me look normal sized.  And I will never be taller than Tim no matter what shoes I wear.

I. Instruments you play: I've taken a stab at learning guitar and piano but never stuck with either for very long.  I would love to get back into it.  I also took voice lessons as a kid and was in some sort of singing group up until about two years ago.  Something I would also love to get back into.
J. Job title: Job?  What's that?  Just kidding... kinda. Right now I wait tables at a gorgeous little restaurant called Naphtali.  I do have a degree in biology and a minor in genetics which I definitely plan on using sometime in the near future.  I am hoping to work in a lab as a research scientist.  If I could do absolutely any job in the world, though, I would be a Broadway star or work as an art curator for a museum.
K. Kids: I love kids.  One day I would like to have two or three but for now, I get to have fun playing with Tim's nieces but can still send them home with their mama at the end of the day :)
L. Live: Originally from North Carolina, currently living on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.
M. Mother’s name: Cheryl (hi mom!)
N. Nicknames: Panda (my dad uses that one), Mandy, George (there's a funny story behind that one), Circle (an old one from high school), Mando, Tim's niece adds on a d and calls me Damanda.
O. Overnight hospital stays: None yet, knock on wood.
P. Pet peeves: Knuckle cracking. I also really, really hate it when people spell their business names wrong on purpose.  Like for instance, I once passed a shop called Kasey's Kloset. That just looks stupid. Neither 'Casey' nor 'closet' are normally spelled with a k.  I would never shop there just because the name irritates me.
Q. Quote from a movie: "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."  It was the first one I thought of.
R. Right or left handed: Righty tighty!
S. Siblings: A lil bro and a lil sis. They are both taller than me and always like to point that out.
U. Underwear: I am definitely pro underwear.  Definitely.  I think that wearing pretty, lacy underroos can help a lady feel pretty all the wear through!
V. Vegetable you hate: I don't hate any vegetables.  Honest!  As a kid I hated brussel sprouts but now I like those too.
W. What makes you run late: Everything. Makeup, tv shows, food, choosing my outfit, doing my hair, spotting something shiny... it's pretty bad actually.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Just teeth and arm when I broke it while snowboarding about two years ago.
Y. Yummy food that you make: I recently made a really awesome soup with lentils and bacon.  Tim was very proud of me for cooking an entire meal all by myself!
Z. Zoo animal: Seals and sea lions.  When I go to the Asheboro zoo, I always make sure to stop and see them.  I could watch them for hours and hours.  They are so graceful and effortless! 

I bet you were just dying to know all of that right?

If you do an A to Z of yourself, comment here and leave me a link!  I would love to learn a little bit about more of my fellow bloggers.



**home is wherever i'm with you**

Hi there.

Just popping in to share another song that I'm loving right now: Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.

Such a nice song and it's so, so true.  I hope you are having a lovely day, wherever in the world you are.



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dancing Models

Once I saw this I just HAD to share it.  How hilarious is this video?  Models may look graceful as they saunter down the runway but they make the most awkward music video dancers ever!

I originally found this video here on The Glamourai.  Thanks for sharing this, Kelly!

Traditional Rum Balls: A Recipe

Hi everyone!

It's Amanda here with a super scrumptious and super easy recipe.  I was inspired to make these when I tasted one of the rum balls that we serve as a little after dinner treat at Naphtali, the restaurant that I have been working at for the past couple of weeks.  They were so delicious, that I wanted to make some for myself (and to share with my house-mates of course).

First of all, these are RUM balls.  They can have quite a strong rum flavor, so if you don't like rum, you probably shouldn't make these.  You can leave out the rum if you want but, in my opinion, they wouldn't really taste like much without it.  Second, they don't require any actual baking at all!  Easy peasy right?  I found the original recipe here and stuck pretty closely to it with only a couple of variations.

Here's what you need:

1 packet of plain sweet biscuits.  I used Arrowroot but you can use pretty much any kind.
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder.  You are supposed to sift it but I didn't because I don't own a sifter.
1 cup of desiccated coconut.
1 can of sweetened  condensed milk.
2-3 tablespoons of rum.  I think I used closer to 4.  It all depends on how much rum flavor you want.  
1 cup of extra coconut for rolling the balls in.

Here's what you do:

Step 1: Gather your ingredients.  Fortunately, this recipe has a very short ingredient list.

Step 2: Finely crush your biscuits.  This would be easiest with a food processor, but you can also put them in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin (or an empty wine bottle).

Step 3:  Add in all of the other ingredients except for the 1 cup of extra coconut for rolling.  Obviously that's for rolling the balls in.

Step 4: Mix it all together.  This mixture should be pretty stiff and easy to roll into balls.  If it's not stiff enough, let it sit in the fridge for a little while until it is.

Step 5:  Roll your mixture into balls.  They can be whatever size you want.  I made mine bite-sized.

Step 6: Coat each rum ball in coconut.

Step 7: Arrange them on a plate and cover with plastic wrap or store in an air tight container.  Keep them in the fridge or freezer depending on when you plan on eating them.

These are traditionally made and eaten in Australia around Christmas time, but I think they are a perfect treat for any time.  




Friday, September 23, 2011

Up Close and Personal

Hi there!

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, last Saturday I spent the day at the beach with Tim and a couple of his friends.  While Tim and Kurt were off spearfishing, I kept myself entertained by taking lots and lots of photos of the scenery.  I did a few close-up photos of bits of sea life that I found in the rock pools using my camera's macro mode.  I really like the way they turned out, so I thought that I would share them here.  

I know these are a little bit repetitive but there is so much sea life that gets washed up into the rock pools here that I would never have the chance to see back home.  It's all right there conveniently placed in the shallow water just for me to come and play with.  It's all so interesting to me!  I am also pretty impressed with the detail that my little compact camera is able to show.  I have a Sony Cybershot (not sure which exact type but I can certainly check and let you know if you are interested) and it's such a great camera for the price.  I've actually had pretty good experiences with every Sony product I've owned.  I still have the very first portable CD player that I ever owned way back before they invented the ones that didn't skip the CD every time you moved the player.  I used that thing right up until I got my first iPod and it STILL works.  

Anyways, that was a long tangent that was mostly irrelevant to this post.  I had a good time finding tiny critters  in the water, especially my friend, the itty-bitty hermit crab.  Don't worry, I returned him to the water after I was done photographing him.  No hermit crabs were harmed in the making of this blog post.  

Also, I just 'discovered' Picnik's photo editing site.  I like the Polaroid frame.  Can you tell?  Picnik is soooo easy to use and I highly recommend it if you are just looking for some basic editing tools and don't want to spend a fortune.

In other news, It's already time for another beautiful, sunny, sunshine coast weekend.  I am determined to wake up early enough tomorrow to drag Tim out to the Eummundi markets and spend money on things I don't need.  I will let you know how it goes.  

I hope you have a beautiful weekend too.  Do you have any fun weekend plans?



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Words to Live By

I first came across this image on Danielle's blog, Sometimes Sweet.  Apparently this quote is from childrens' book author, Dallas Clayton.  I only 'borrowed' this image from Danielle's blog because it really spoke to me and relates so closely to my life now.  Before I left for Australia, most of my family worried that I was making a huge mistake by leaving behind everything I know in order to be the with the guy I love.  They were afraid that I would ruin my life for a relationship that wasn't even a sure thing.  But you know what?  Nothing in life is a sure thing.  Of course, there was also the possibility that as soon as I arrived in Australia, my relationship would fall apart, I wouldn't be able to get a job, and I would be miserable.  But then again, there was nothing and no one that could tell me for sure that if I stayed in NC and got a job close to home that I would be happy either.  So I took the leap, knowing that if my life crumbled around me, I could always turn around a go back home.  I have been here for two months now, and I certainly don't regret my decision yet.  

Of course I miss my family.  In a perfect world, NC and Australia would be right next to each other and traveling between the two would take five minutes and be completely free.  I certainly don't have everything figured out yet.  Tim and I are completely broke and have only one car, which is pretty much falling to pieces.  But we are happy.  I know that taking risks can be scary.  But think of all the amazing experiences you would miss out on if you never, ever did anything risky.  Take the leap.  If things don't work out, you can always turn around and go back home.  Then, at least you can say you tried.

Have a happy Wednesday!



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Music to My Ears

Hi everyone!

I'm just popping in for a quick hello and to share this amazing song and music video with you all.  If you happen to live in Australia, you have definitely seen or heard this at some point recently.  How do I know this?  Because this song is currently #1 on the Australian top 40 list.  Anyways, definitely watch this video.  It's got some pretty abstract painting eye candy in it.  Try to ignore the dude's atrociously bad teeth.

Love this song!  I think that in an hour or two I will give my computer a little break and go for a little bus ride to the Plaza to grab a few things that I've been needing.  It's a perfect day for some shopping; breezy and cloudy.  Have a musical day!



Sunday, September 18, 2011

Movie Monday #3

Hi everyone!

It's another beautiful, sunny day here on the Sunshine Coast.  This place has definitely been living up to its name lately.  It's spring now but it feels like the Australia weather gods took a look around and said "I don't really feel like dealing with spring.  Let's just skip it and go straight to summer".  It was a balmy 27 Celsius on Saturday, which I believe is somewhere around 85 Fahrenheit.  Tim and I had such a great weekend.  I won't bore you with all the details now (that can wait until tomorrow) because today is movie Monday!  I kinda skipped out on it last week but I am going to try to do much better keeping up with it now.  Even though I probably watch about seven movies a week, I think from now on I will just keep each Movie Monday post to just two movies in the interest of saving both your time and mine.  This will also make it much easier for me to keep up with.

1. The Steig Larsson Trilogy

Ok, so this is a series of three movies but as they are all part of the same story line, I will review them all at once.  I guess the first thing that I should point out about this series is that they are all in Swedish with English subtitles.  So I suggest that you only watch them if you are planning on really concentrating on the dialogue.  If you don't, you won't have the slightest idea what is happening.  They are also quite long.  But, if you are willing to put in the time and energy required to watch them you will find that these movies are chilling, thrilling, and very much worth watching once or twice.

The first movie is called "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  It's a kind of a murder mystery that also follows the life of Swedish bad girl and computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander, a part that is beautifully portrayed by Noomi Rapace.  I won't bother writing a big, long plot summary here since you could easily look that up on IMDB.  Basically, after a series of events, Lisbeth teams up with journalist Mikael Blomqvist to help solve the 40-year-old mystery surrounding the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, a member of the powerful and wealthy Vanger family.  Along the way they encounter plenty of bad guys to contend with.  The stark Swedish winter setting definitely adds to the general gloominess of this film.  The movie is very suspenseful but also a bit depressing.  It also includes some fairly graphic sexual violence, so it's definitely not for the faint of heart.

The second movie is called "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and it was even more violent than the first.  I didn't enjoy this one nearly as much as the first but it is essential to the understanding of Lisbeth's character and as a bridge between the first and second films.  In this installment, Mikael Blomqvist and his team of journalists "play with fire" as they try to bring to light the seedy world of sex-trafficking.  Lisbeth Salander confronts her demons and her father in the wake of her mother's death.  The end of this movie definitely left me saying "and then what?"  So, naturally, I had to go rent the third.

The third and final installment in this trilogy is called "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest".  This movie follows the court trial of Lisbeth Salander after she has been charged with the attempted murder of her father. She, herself, spends the majority of the film in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds inflicted by her monstrously huge half-brother.  Despite the less than stellar reviews that the movie received from critics, I rather enjoyed it and thought it moved well for a film that focused almost exclusively on a court case.  In the end, Noomi Rapace continues to shine in her role as the troubled young computer hacker.  Her performance definitely makes the series worth finishing.

2.  How Do You Know?

Honesty, there isn't a whole heck of a lot to say about this movie.  If you are in the mood for something light, then this certainly fits the bill.  The movie features a wonderful cast in less than fascinating roles.  Owen Wilson provides a few laughs, as always, and Paul Rudd is typically cute and endearing.  Reese Witherspoon's character is a bit too cutesy for my liking.  There is nothing really wrong with the movie, it's just another one of  those rather forgettable romantic comedies of which there are far too many.  My final conclusion: cute and enjoyable, but definitely not a must-see.

I hope you all enjoyed this latest installment of Movie Monday.  I would welcome any and all movie suggestions and I would also love to know what you think of the movies that I've reviewed.  I recently discovered this list of the top 50 must-see documentaries of all time so I might try to watch one of those each week and incorporate it into my Movie Mondays.  Now I think I might go for a jog and enjoy this beautiful weather.  

I hope you have a lovely day!



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oz Adventures: The Brisbane Ekka

First, let me say that my Oz Adventures posts have already managed to get a little bit out of order.  This event actually happened before the epic mountain climb, but I thought the mountain climb was a bit more exciting and came with prettier pictures, so I placed it just a little higher up on my blogging priority list.

Second, anyone reading this blog who is not from Australia is probably saying to themselves (or to someone else, if you tend to read  blogs with a partner) "WTF is an Ekka?!"  Ok, ok, I will tell you.  The Brisbane Ekka is very similar to a state fair.  There are lots of extremely unsafe and rickety rides, heart attack-inducing food, smelly farm animals, super important competitions for the best jams and largest pumpkins, and other such fair-ish entertainment.  Does that answer your question?  No?  Well maybe the photos below will help clear things up a little.

Anyways, Tim and I ended up going to the Ekka by ourselves because we had only a very specific window of time to work with given our work/uni schedules, and none of his friends were able to join us.  We ended up having a fabulous time anyways, despite the fact that we were on a very limited budget.  And without further ado, here are those enlightening photographs that I promised you in the last paragraph of this post:

Look closely at the little blue sign in the center of this photo... it says Dexter.  That's my brother's name.  My brother is a cow... tee hee!

In the food hall, there were so many stands where one could purchase locally made cheeses, wines, spreads, produce, baked goods, and pretty much anything you can imagine.  I came across this pretty little cupcake shop, and just had to try one, despite the fact that they cost $3.50 each.

I chose one called something like "Rock'n Roady" which was chocolate with chocolate frosting, pink marshmallows, and a cherry one top.  It was rich, moist, and delicious and totally worth $3.50 of Tim's money.

I seriously chased around the animals in the petting zoo for about 15 mins trying to get some to stay still for long enough for Tim to take some pictures.

I got this free hat from some girl who was handing out free hats.  I was like a walking advertisement for RACQ Insurance.  But hey, it was free!

This guy is super cute and cuddly right?  He was on top of the photo booth for one of the haunted rides.

This guy came all the way from Montana to perform some Monster Truck stunts.  Hearing his accent when he spoke into the microphone made me feel like I would feel right at home if I were from somewhere in the deep south.

I won this little guy at one of the games.  Tim says it's a gecko but i think it just looks like a frog with a tail.  Am I right?

It was a fun evening.  We stayed and watched a motocross show and then some fireworks before heading back to the car to make the hour-long drive home.

Sadly, I will be missing the NC state fair which I think might be a little better than the Ekka but only because of the ribbon fries and funnel cakes.  What are your favorite parts of your local state fair/Ekka?  What is your favorite fair food?

I hope you are having a lovely day!