Monday, January 25, 2016

orlando and cancun.

i had to leave luna for the first time since our honeymoon. what kinda of person starts off their blog about orlando and cancun with that statement? a dog obsessed mom - that's who. it was heartbreaking, but we had to do it. 

i stood in front of this stupid world to get this picture for at least 10 minutes. either someone would walk in front of me, or i wouldn't time it right - but here we have it. in all it's glory.

last summer, lee made me ever so proud by passing all these crazy tests and obtaining his senior title for his job. senior at age 28? okay, hubs, i see you. anyway, he got an incentive trip to orlando for a weekend in january. i love orlando as much as the next 5 year old, so book me on all the rides!!! 

...enter in my own job promotion at the beginning of september, and i found out that we had an all manager's meeting which overlapped the same dates. so i flew from charlotte on a saturday to spend two days in orlando with lee, then left on that monday to fly to cancun for my own work function. 

rough life, right? no, i'm not lucky, i'm blessed. yes.

we ended up buying park to park tickets to islands of adventure and universal studios - which included both of the harry potter parks. 

ok, don't freak out.

i don't know much about harry potter. i know he's a wizard and there's a lightning bolt and they have brooms and there's this dude with a weird nose who i'm pretty sure is bad and there's butter beer. there's a train and a talking hat thing and a three headed dog. but even so, the parks down in orlando are amazing even if you don't know jack squat about what's going on. 

and if you want to go on the scariest ride known to man, go on the simulator ride in the castle.

i freakin' love adrenaline rides or roller coasters, but this thing scared the absolute crap out of me. i went on this ride about 4 or so years ago for the first time, and i remember telling lee - this ride is no joke. i spent 3/4 of the thing with my hand over my eyes. they had spiders jumping out at you and i do. not. do. spiders.

anyway, go on it, don't listen to me you harry potter fans. what do i know?

the second day, we bought express passes. i'll be the first to admit - those things are outrageously priced. tickets ALONE are outrageously priced, but hey, you pay for convenience, right? so we did. i honestly felt bad walking past all those people who had to wait in line for 45+ minutes for the ride when lee and i waited no more than like 8-10 minutes. it was so worth it. we got to do multiple rides back to back and bounce from one park to another to catch rides we didn't get to the day prior due to wait times.

the express pass really came in handy for this coaster.

i know, i know. that's a sick pic. i took it and was like yessssssss. anyway, this is one of the coolest coasters i've ever been on. first of all, it's a 90 degree vertical climb to the top which is insane from the get go, but the reason this was so unique had nothing to do with that. 

when you sat down, your lap bar came across & had a touchscreen. it asked you to select your favorite genre of music ranging from country to rap to rock to alternative. you picked your favorite and then it auto populated specific well known songs from that genre & you were to select one. at the top of that first drop, your selected song started playing through out the entire ride due to speakers embedded in your headrest. so. cool.

then at the end you get to see yourself filmed throughout the ride. they didn't tell you this - and oh my gosh it's freakin' hilarious.

then i jetted off to cancun.

i do not have nearly the amount of pictures or stories that i do in orlando since i was on business, but the resort pool was all kinds of heart emojis. 

and so were the sunrises.

plus i was in dang cancun, so who can really complain? there were palm trees, good drinks, good convos, and good people. luna wouldn't leave me alone for a solid 20 minutes when i finally returned home the next day, so i'm trying to figure out if that was the best part of this whole thing or not. 


can you believe i blogged last friday and today? me either, but holla! that's my life recap in my whirlwind trip down south and out of the country. until next time's adventures...
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Friday, January 22, 2016

BAKED onion rings.

aw yeah,  you read that right. BAKED, baby. 

here in the past year i have really developed a love for cooking. i've always, i guess, enjoyed it, but lately it's become my thing. my stress reliever. my creative outlet. i like to find inspiration for recipes and then make them my own. nevermind the fact that i usually have to "make them my own" because i don't have half of what a certain recipe calls for in my fridge or pantry, so i just substitute for what i think would work & go from there. 

tomatoes. to-MA-toes, right? 

we don't own a fryer. does anyone remember fry daddy's? that big, black, deep, scary looking contraption that my parents always used when i was a kid to make hush puppies or whatever. i never liked that thing. it popped hot grease that hurt when it hit me, so that resulted in me never cooking bacon until about 2 years ago. hot grease is scary. actually the oven in general is scary and i've burned myself more times than i wanna admit, but now i'm just rambling. 

so enter all the baked version of "fried" food. i made homemade chinese-ish chicken the other night using this method, but that's another story for another day. 

tonight, i was home alone with luna because lee went to a concert with his brother and onion rings just entered my mind. i had an extremely busy & stressful work day, so why not turn on some music and dance it out in the kitchen? 

sounds good to me. 

baked onion rings.

1 medium white onion
1/3 cup of flour
heaping tablespoon of chili powder
heaping tablespoon of garlic powder
1 egg
1 cup of panko
non stick spray

1. preheat oven to 450 & slice your onion long ways so it makes rings & place into a bowl of water. if you don't know how to do that, then abort this recipe. you're doomed.
2. start by combining the flour, chili powder, and garlic powder (plus a little salt to taste) in a bowl.
3. add the egg in a separate bowl.
4. panko in a third bowl.
5. you know the drill. onion to flour to egg to panko.
6. place on a heavily greased baking sheet (i used non stick spray) & bake for about 11 minutes. 
7. serve with your favorite sauce. 


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Monday, January 18, 2016

08.29.15 - the ceremony

we left off with our wedding party pictures and how thankful i was to my peeps for sweating in the august sun for us. alexander homestead had this gazebo & loosely strung lights that i fell in love with from the moment i saw them. it was where i wanted to be married and nothing else mattered.

after the family shots, us girls went into the female bridal suite which overlooked the ceremony location. since we had that first look, i was very calm - which i didn't think i would be honestly. standing in front of all these people can make a woman nervous! we popped our mini champagne bottles, danielle said a quick toast & prayer, & before i knew it, we were lining up to head out. 

one thing that i didn't think about was that since i was tucked away, i wouldn't see the seating of the parents, grandparents, lee's entrance or anything! i mean duh, right? the bride comes down last so that kind of logical, amanda, but when you have a million things going on in your head, you tend to have bride brain that makes you do stupid stuff. 

like the song my bridesmaids and i sang inside the suite because i was about to bawl my eyes out from emotion/nervousness/catching a quick glimpse of my adorable 84 year old granddaddy going down the aisle. 

we sang "heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes." literally while everyone was staring at us waiting, like the guys below, we were singing a dang barney song and no one knew.

i'm pretty certain it was my idea to sing it and why on earth barney popped into my head, i have no idea. i think that's a barney song right? regardless, it made us die laughing and helped out my goal of not ugly crying down the aisle. score.

so what did i walk down the aisle to? this may seem stupid to a lot of you, but i really don't care. the first time i heard the instrumental cover by the piano guys of taylor swift's begin again - i knew that was it. i love the way it opened into the song. my dad came from behind the building down a brick path & waited for me to meet him at the bottom of the stairs in front of the bridal suite. i had this planned, literally, down to the second so i would arrive at lee when the instrumental ended at the chorus. numerous morning commutes to work were spent listening that song over and over and over.

so why that song? well, it's no secret i'm a taylor fanatic and have been for years, but 'begin again' is literally our love story. our first date was on a wednesday in a (sort of) cafe. the lyrics of that song hit home to me in so many ways. from the first time i went on a date with lee, i watched my entire life, and love, begin again. i wouldn't change this for the world.

it's funny how ceremonies go. you plan them for 30 minutes (or at least we did. we wanted short & sweet) and you feel like you're up there for 3 minutes. you say your vows, you exchange rings, and boom the show is over. we did decide to have a lantern lighting ceremony. lee gave my mom a white rose & i gave lee's mom a white rose as well. this was a surprise to them and i think they loved it. my photographer did a great job at capturing so many different angles of our ceremony. 

like the below. i don't even think garrett knows it's one of my favorite pictures because of how unique it is. plus i love those lights.

my grandma passed away on april 2, 2008. she was one of my best friends so i got this picture blown up and it sat in a chair beside of my granddaddy in the front row.  i hand wrote the following lyrics beside her picture...

and what would you think of me now? so lucky. so strong. so proud.

one of my bridesmaids, taylor, contact my florist without me knowing so she could send in my new monogram stitched in blue & attached a charm of the bible verse luke 22:43 to my bridal bouquet. she has no clue how much this meant to me. 

i miss you everyday grandma.

and in the blink of an eye, the ceremony was over & we were headed back down the aisle. i had a "lavender shower" planned for our guests to toss dried lavender into the air as we walked by. it was really fun and unique. 

and just like that, we were married. a big shout out to our closest people below who made this day possible and a dream for us. without your unconditional love, shoulders to lean on, and a million text messages that i sent & you helped me - our wedding day wouldn't have been the same. 

we were blessed beyond words for an absolute perfect wedding day. 

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all photos by carolina portrait designs.

Monday, January 11, 2016

i like blogging. at least i think.

happy 2016 from my blurry photo from nye. i kid you not - i took like 12 pictures that night. but most were fuzzy or me giving a weird look. so really there was only like 3. this was 1 of them so you know - #doitfortheblog.

i do like blogging, i promise. i like blogging because i like that i can do it on my own time. hell, i haven't posted in a month and a handful of days, but i sat down tonight and just said ok, i have a free minute. i don't think i could ever be a blogger that blogs because they felt the had to.  i tried that once and quickly realized that wasn't me at all. if you look back, those two posts followed each other. amanda can't be fake to herself for too long, ya know.

so what have we been up to? heck, i don't know. we had Christmas. it was our first married Christmas and it still kinda felt like the ones before it. not that that's at all a bad thing or not to take anything away from first married Christmas sentimental-ness, but every Christmas with lee has been special - we just have wedding rings this time. thank God for those rings.

it was luna's first one and we spoiled her with this fancy huge bone from harris teeter. you know those big bones that are like $15 or something ridiculous and you think why in the crap are these bones so expensive? $15 can get me a nice laundry detergent.... but you know, it was Christmas and she needed something in her stocking. 

she threw it up later that next morning. no more $15 throw up bones for luna. 

we spent christmas eve with my parents in roxboro, as usual, and headed back to charlotte for the walker christmas night ritual. below is my horrible attempt at cropping the two photos together. 

lee doesn't have eyes in the bottom photo & andy's girlfriend, alli, doesn't have a face. i don't have a smile in the top photo and lee's dad doesn't have a forehead, but whatever. you make it work.

for new year's eve, we did this really amazing thing that we never do anymore called going out. yes, we picked a bar and actually went there. no, you can't wear sweatpants, and yes, you probably should wear makeup. but we decided to shake up usual traditions and head over to maverick rock taco on montford. 

before you ask, no i don't have a group shot. but we were 5 couples people deep and it was a blast. and sparkly.

i have a funny story when we were trying to order tickets actually. their debit card spot wasn't working & of course, know me, i escalate everything. i got in touch with the marketing director, who was really nice actually, & she said something would be "waiting on arrival" for me. i walked up & "upon arrival" i had nada. after speaking to the manager they "figured it out" and this girl got a free bottle of champs when i carried around all night of course. 

i won't use any more quotes in this blog post i swear.

and then this cool thing happened.

15-1 baby. 15-1. thanks for all the people who texted me after the panthers loss to atlanta, but it didn't stop us against the bucs. i actually had zero plans to go to the game until allyson called me frantically that sunday morning saying she found tickets. 

so to a tailgate i went. and it was the best way to end the regular season.

i've also been cooking up a storm & instagramming them, but not posting recipes.

oops. i suck. this will (should?) come soon. especially those tacos. oh my god, those tacos. check back soon (hopefully).

maybe this why i'm not good at "normal" blogging. because i do this data dump and then chill in my sweatpants playing grand theft auto in my spare time. yes, i asked for a playstation 4 for christmas and my wonderful husband provided. i've been hooked on GTA5 and "until dawn" since they arrived. i'm a gamer y'all- let it be known. am i real girl?

yeah, i am. i still listen to taylor swift every time i blog because it's tradition and i'm still rocking christmas pjs on january 8th as i'm writing this post. it won't post until january 11th so that may not make sense but whatever. we're going to orlando this weekend (last weekend by the time you read this?) to do universal studios and islands of adventure. lee has never been and that's really weird. i head to cancun on monday (when you're reading this) for work so i'll try and do better with pics than i did on nye. cancun reminds me - i still need to blog about our honeymoon. damnit.

anyway, i'll try to do better when work chills out. i love looking back on these posts actually to see what silly/stupid thing i posted so i'll try. i'll try as hard as we did to get a good "lee, amanda, luna" christmas picture. see below. it wasn't easy.

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