fashion goddess: lorelai gilmore

When the costume designer on the set of Gilmore Girls thought of Lorelai's style, she must have had me in mind. I can't think of any outfit that Lorelai had on in season 6 & 7 that I didn't like. She wears everything that I want to wear. 

She's got all my style points: V-necks, blazers, and perfect vests. Just look at the above lookbook: it's all so flattering. I feel that every body type can pull off the V-neck: it's the most flattering neckline for women regardless of chest size. Every time I watch an episode I think about wearing that ensemble myself.  What do you think about her style?

Note: I understand that GG ended in 2007, but thanks to ABCFamily, I get to watch reruns every day after work. Thanks syndication!


on academics...

Welcome to the confusing world of university life.

I'm getting a heavy dose of university piled on me in August. I'm going to be attending UW-Stout in the fall and there are still certain things that I don't know about. I don't know my class schedule, where to park, what to buy--nothing. And, to be honest, I'm a little freaked. I am one of those people who like to know what to expect. I mean, who isn't? Who doesn't like an extra little dose of preparedness?

This whole experience is giving me a complete course in letting go of the control. I'm unfamiliar with the town, unfamiliar with the school layout, unfamiliar with the teachers, unfamiliar with the process. And, that's freakin' scary. I have no idea what's going on around me. I often have feelings of frustration when I think about the fact that I feel alone in this whole transfer process. I could quit. I could just say it's too hard and I should just stay at my job, work full-time, and not continue on the road of becoming a kindergarten teacher.

But, as hard as it is, I will wait it out. I will continue to walk down the road of the unknown. Because, as my mother-in-law told me when she heard about my frustrations, this will work out. I don't have any clue about what's going on at school--but I will continue to e-mail, browse the website, wait for phone calls, and attend every meeting I can in order to prepare for the upcoming school year.  That's what I'm learning it's all about--carrying on even though you have no idea where you're going.
Jesus told me: "Do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.{Luke 12: 22-23} 

P.S. I really am not kidding about making that a perfect birthday present for me, sibs and parents. :)



If you watch this cute little commercial, you'll probably end up with a smile on your face.


This gets my vote

for Best Movie of 2010. It is just that good. We saw it on Sunday since Chad goes completely ape over anything that is directed by Christopher Nolan. In our DVD racks I think we have the most flicks of his {Memento, Insomnia, The Dark Knight, The Prestige....just to name a few} and this one we'll definitely be adding to the list.

Go. See. Be blown away.

Trust me--it does not disappoint.

I'm jumping for joy!

Because today is Friday! What a great day off--I can't remember the last time I've had a Friday off {it's a little sour since I have to work tomorrow}, so I'll be enjoying myself today, which features Pushing Daisies reruns on Netflix and answering these questions:

1. What were your school colors?
My alma mater had kelly green and yellow as our school colors. We rocked them on the volleyball courts, let me tell you. I don't know if it's because we are in Packers country that made us decide to go with the green/gold combo.  Here's a little show-and-tell featuring one of my cousins, Amy {she's the one shooting the ball} :
Doesn't this bring you back? After seeing this photo, I'm taken back feeling like a 10th grader--chatting with my friends before the game starts, cheering for my classmates, playing in the pep band...definitely brings  me back.

2. What's the best compliment you've ever received?
I remember a compliment that I got from someone I used to work with. She said "I can tell you are a Christian". That is what I daily strive for. God has blessed me on this earth by creating me to be a light for Him. He has "made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." {2 Cor. 4:6b} I pray that God's light will continue to shine in my heart and use me as an ambassador for Him.

3. Do you buy cheap or expensive toilet paper?
I'm not sure what the parameter is on cheap v. expensive, but we definitely like to have our t.p. to have a couple plys. Paper-wise, anything touching our bodies has to feel good. Kleenexes are a big splurge for us. No cheap, public bathroom tissues allowed in this place. Speaking of t.p., here's a little clip for your enjoyment: the Seinfeld clip where Elaine needs a square.

4. Have you ever had a surprise party thrown for you? Or have you had one for someone else?
No. But, one year, I hope to have one. In all my 21 {almost 22} birthdays, I've never been walked to the door and had my friends and family scare the crap outta me when they yelled "surprise." L.C. from the Hills had two surprise birthday parties in the four years she was on the show {but, she's a little special--the producers probably planned the entire party}. Now, I don't need anything like a yacht party, or 100 of my closest friends to gather at the hottest L.A. restaurant, but maybe a little something. I will be the kind of mother/wife who will throw a few surprise parties, let me tell you.

5. What is the one material possession that you can't live without?
 Right when I saw this question, I immediately thought of beauty products. Makeup = fun.  We girls need only a few things to make us feel fresh and ready for the day {meaning--ready to step out of the house and go out into public without scaring little children}. For me, the daily beauty products are: 
{l-r. t-b.} Maybelline mascara. Mary Kay eyeliner. Cover girl loose powder. Cover girl eyeshadow. Maybelline foundation. Cover girl blush. 

Clearly, I can buy stock in CG, and make millions. They will never run out of business with me buying. I vow to teach my daughter the tricks of finding the right foundation shade for her face and how to properly apply mascara.

play here.


my love affair with Fiestaware.

Hopefully, one day, I'll be able to have a Fiesta collection like this.

My desire for a cupboard full of Fiestaware stems from my grandmother's house {mom's mom} and how she has a small collection of her own. I was on dry duty in the kitchen last time I was at her house, and she chatted with me and told me the story of her beloved {by me} well-worn Fiestaware dinner plates.

That led me to think--I want a collection of my own. A collection maybe as simple as my grandmother's: 4 colorful dinner plates and one meat platter. One that my granddaughter will look at and think about her house and starting her life as a housewife.

After that trip, I decided that the collection was going to happen in my house. I went online and registered for some pieces for our wedding registry. Now, sitting in my cupboard are 7 dinner plates, 4 dessert plates, serving bowls, and a meat platter. All bright and full of color. I'm eager to throw dinner parties over here--one person will eat dinner on the yellow plate, and dessert on the blue plate. I'm crazy for Fiestaware.

Needless to say, etsy and ebay have become my go-to sites for finding vintage pieces. Over the next few years, I hope to build a Fiestaware collection up so much that it's all that we use. Throw out the hand-me-down pieces and fill our cupboards with happy, cheerful dishes for years to come.

I would love to know what you like in the kitchen. Plates, glasses, utensils--let me know! Being a brand new housewife, I could always use some kitchen ideas.

P.S. Family--if you are looking for a Christmas or Birthday idea for me, I'll always appreciate another Fiestaware piece :)


once again.

1. Do you collect anything?
Hmm...I don't know if I collect anything. Obviously, if I don't know, then I probably don't. I know of things that I'd like to start a collection of--Fiestaware in my cupboards, ballet flats in my closet, and headbands on my dresser. There are other intangible things that I collect--travel plans to overseas destinations {like Bethany's upcoming adventure}, future children's names, the floorplan and decor ideas for my dream home, and the constant reel of ideas swirling around in my brain.

2. Name 3 celebrities that you find good looking.
Only 3?! Why would you do that? Making me pick through all my crushes is a hard task to do, but I'll suffer through and browse Google Images {someone has to step up to the task of oogling men} to find 3 pictures of my movie star crushes:

Current favorites: Hugh Jackman. Jake Gyllenhaal. Alexander Skarsgard.

3. Do you have scars? If so, what's the story behind it (them)?
Of course I have scars. It's a fact of life. My scars range from little circle scars above my eyebrow courtesy of the chicken pox when I was a baby, to the cresent moon shaped one on my bicep that I got last year. One scar stands out in particular. Allow me to narrate the story of my first memory:

I was about five years old still learning how the bike pedals worked. All I remember are certain details: It was Saturday (popcorn +movie night at my house) and close to nighttime (the sun was setting).  I was wobbly riding down the sidewalk and I fell and scraped my knee. I remember my mom {or brother} carrying me into the house because my left knee was starting to bleed. To me, it was bleeding profusely. One boo-boo kiss and band-aid later, I thought it was gone. It remains on my knee and will for the rest of my life. 

4. What is a food that you like to eat but other might think is gross or weird?
Weird food...hmm. I like having applesauce + saltine crackers when I'm sick. My dad has carried the tradition of applesauce + turkey for Thanksgiving dinner which some might think is odd. Chad finds my milk craving a little odd as well--he didn't realize he married a baby calf until it was too late. Now we go through a 1/2 gallon in a little under a week.  I can't help it; it's my weakness. 

5. Have you ever seen a tornado in real life?
The closest I've ever been to a tornado is when I was 10 or so, 12 miles away from my hometown, a tornado hit a neighboring town. Right through Main St. The town is super small, so it took a little while for them to recover. Midwest summers are always sprinkled with tornado watches and trips down to the basement armed with the radio.

P.S. Weekend Plans include: birthday. wedding. and this movie.

play along.


Wedding Season: What to Give {Vol. 3}

1. Black and Silver Wall Rack: $15.00
2. Distressed Key Holder: $6.00
3. Office Organizer: $16.00
4. 16 Fabric Pushpins: $14.50
5. Small Vintage Jar Trio: $15.00
6. Lidded Glass Jar: $14.00

Everyone needs a way to organize the chaos. Whether it's a place to hang up keys or the husband's coat, or finding a cute way to display the cotton swabs and Q-Tips in small clear jars. At my apartment, we're just getting into the living together mode and we've found that having a central location for everything {bills, receipts, schedules, bulletin board, calendar} is the ideal way for our house to function smoothly. Some cute fabric pushpins would make any new bride smile.


Mission Accomplished: Leroy's Surprise Party

Remember the super secret event I mentioned last weekend? This was it. My dad and his siblings threw a surprise birthday party for their dad's 80th. And, boy, was he surprised. Friends and relatives from all over came to the beach pavilion to celebrate 80 years of my grandpa. The sneaky aunts of mine decided to do the party last week, instead of closer to his real birthday which is in September. Luckily, we know how to party any day of the year :)

Photo 01: The lake that we got to look at. If I didn't have to come straight from work, I would have gotten the swimsuit on and been in that water. It was 90+ degrees that day, so a dip in the lake would've felt nice.

Photo 02: All things Leroy. This is just a little peek at what makes my grandpa unique. All his children brought a little something that reminded them of their dad--puzzles, Christmas lights that he fixes, wooden figure of Jesus carrying the cross that he made, the Minnesota Vikings, baseball, and a paint brush + can. All the grand kids were asked to write him a special little note, too.

Photo 03: Cousins playing volleyball. Every year my family seems to grow and grow. Weddings have brought more cousins and babies have brought more second cousins. Some cousins of mine braved the heat + scorching sand to play a little game. It's always fun to see everyone like we used to when we were younger. It's like no time ever passed. Now we have new memories.
Coming up next: UJ's adventures on the beach & Hannah and Amanda conquer the driving range.


5QF once again.

1. What is one food you could eat everyday?
That's like asking which child is your favorite. If I say one thing, I'll be cheating on all my other favorites. I am always in the mood for grilled foods in the summer. Chad's baby back ribs are up there on the list. It's a whole day process to perfect them--the crockpot, a modified rub, the perfect char, are all involved.

2. Are you working in the career you thought you would be when you were 18?
Wow, 18. For me 18 was only 3 years ago, and at that time I had a new boyfriend, fresh out of high school, and without a clue as to what I wanted to do with the next part of my life. I didn't have it all figured out and I was struggling finding my passion. It wasn't until my dad said to me one day, "Amanda, you are great with kids, be a early childhood teacher." Passion found.

3. What is something you wish you would have done when you were younger and you didn't?
Played softball. When I was in middle school, that was the thing to do among all my friends. My best friends all played on leagues in the summer, while I was afraid of the ball. I'll admit it--I didn't like speeding, huge, white softballs near my face. I'm afraid I've gotta break some news to you readers, I am not a coordinated person. That's why me + softball never mixed.

4. What color are your kitchen walls?
Better question for my house, what color are all your walls. I live in a rental. All my walls are the exact same color. My landlord decided to paint the inside of our house a brown/peach/orange combo {and yes, that does provide some decorating challenges}. My dream kitchen would be inpired by these two kitchens:

{both via house beautiful}

5. Do you remember what your very first favorite song was?
Depends on what age you're asking for. When I was younger and watching PBS, it was probably the theme song to Seasame Street or "This is the song that Never Ends" from Lamb Chop {which is now stuck in my head}. When I was in middle school it was this boy band:
My sister, Laura, and I were obsessed with BSB. Everytime one of their songs came on the radio, we would scramble to get to the radio in time to press record. We had the book Nick Carter's mom wrote, we had posters from Teen Beat covering our door. We even had a videotape featuring some of their behind-the-scenes concert footage {Howard...Censored}. We were infatuated with them.

Recently, one day, Chad and I were listening to the radio and "I Want it That Way" came on. I knew every single word. Isn't music funny like that? Something played repeatedly almost 10 years ago, is something you remember verbatim like no time had ever passed.

Play along. It's fun!

P.S. Check out Meghan's recap and giveaway--I wish she would have taken me on her adventure! 


Wedding Season: What to Give {Vol. 2}

{top-bottom, left-right}
1. Set of 4 Napkins in Aqua and Yellow: $42.00
2. Vintage Wooden Recipe Box: $21.75
3. Vintage Handled Picnic Basket: $38.00
4. Vintage Tilt Jar with Glass Lid: $17.95
5. Blue and Grey Gingham Tablecloth: $30.00
6. Juicy Lemon Drop Kitchen Towels: $17.50

This is what I love about etsy. Taking basic everyday kitchen items and making them unique. Everyone needs kitchen towels and recipe boxes, but with etsy you can had one-of-a-kind items. Yes, I know that Pyrex bowls and pans are a god-send {believe me} and no one could live without their coffemakers and blenders. But, besides all the necessary kitchen items, you are free to decorate your kitchen with whatever you'd like. If you like vintage Fiestaware plates, then go all out {I have yet to tell you of my Fiestaware obsession}. The new couple will be thankful for those items that they didn't think of when registering at Target, but they would be so glad that you decided to hunt around for a little something to make their new home feel special--and all theirs.


{a favorite childhood toy: see question 1. source}

I stumbled on a random blog one day called 5 Crooked Halos and this blogger has a feature called 5 Question Friday and this week I thought it would be fun to play along.

1. What is one thing you miss the most about childhood?
I have to pick only one thing? That's a toughy. Of course there's, not seeing one bill or that the refirgerator was always filled with food. But, if I'm thinking in terms of my childhood aged 5-teenage years, it would be the simplicity of the day--of my life, really. Hmm, wonder why I named my blog Project Simple Life. Maybe it's because I want a little slice of that back. That carefree, 8-year-old me who would wake up early in the summer, and even before breakfast, would be playing Barbies on the floor of my room. Who would follow the rules her parents set out of only riding my bike on my block and the surrounding block and being perfectly content for hours and hours even though it's the same route. No schedules. No lists. Now, if I have to tackle a part of my life, I can't do it without writing a list, checking off each little handmade box as I accomplish the task. I was satisfied with being myself, not listening to critique or judgments from others. I didn't evaluate what I did {as I do now--hello, college}, I simply did it because it made me happy.

2. Are you still friends with your friends from high school?
My high school experience was unique. I went to school at a small, private, Lutheran high school, that was also a college and seminary. It was unique in the way the students there acted. I was always surrounded by Christian friends and we had deeper relationships than the typical high schoolers do. Since high school ended 4 years ago, and many have moved away, I have still remained close with a handful of my old girlfriends--friends who I can depend on, who I can get advice from. The relationships that we have together have endured recent trials and been built up stronger since our Christian love for one another comes from God. He knows that we need friends who at all times--Proverbs 17:17.

{My sweet high school girlfriends and I: love at all times}

3. Is there a catch phrase, cliche, or word that just drives you bonkers every time you hear it?
This question kind of threw me. I haven't ever though of words as giving me the heebee-jeebees. I know there are words I don't like that have the same affect on me, like when someone scratches styrofoam, words like "raw" and "moist". I also don't like when people overpronounce words: "Chippewa" and "Wisconsin" --big slip-ups in my part of the country. I'm also not pleased that the phrase "Git R Done" is popular, come on, let's talk like intelligent humans here. I have the horrible habit recently, of over-using "It is what it is". Everytime I hear myself saying it, I think "How many times have I said that today?"

4. What is one thing that you think symbolizes America...besides "Old Glory"?
Ironically, I read Ryan's post about the 4th and how products seem to overshadow true patriotism. He mentions that the 4th of July has become a "Made in China" holiday. {Seriously, read it...he does have a disclaimer that he's being sarcastic, but I still thought about how the topic applied to me.} I would think that the Statue of Liberty would be up there, but ever since I started going on family vacations every summer, to me, it's America itself--the beauty of the national parks really stands out to me. The landmarks that we have seen {Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon, Disney World, Space Needle, Boston, Mount Rushmore, etc} make me thankful that I live in such a great country.

5. What are your 4th of July weekend plans?
Well, I can't tell you about the super secret event we having going on tomorrow afternoon, but I can tell you that I get to see my sister and brother. I love when all of us can come together. We are being pulled in a lot of different directions this year, with a baseball game invitation, a cook-out, a traditional fireworks viewing--so we'll have to see if we get everything done. Read about my 4th of Ju-ly memories: here.  The nice thing is that our weekend stretches over Fri.-Mon. I love when that happens.

Happy 4th of July weekend, friends. Go out and celebrate. And eat as much watermelon as you can :)


the fourth.

My July 4th memories:

As a child: traveling to one of my aunt's houses or my grandparents and spending time with cousins. We did everything on the fourth: went to a parade {as children, we were perfectly content to squish together on the curb--closer to the people throwing out all the pretty candy} and picked names for the upcoming Christmas season {oftentimes, this was drawn out because someone always ended up picking their own name}. I would watch in awe at all the small MN town fireworks from the backseat as we would drive home from grandma and grandpa's house. We would drive the whole night listening to the 1812 Overture while the sky would light up with color.

Recently: two years ago,  helping my sister get ready for her wedding. July 4th was spent at the wedding rehearsal followed by the fireworks show in the Cities. We spent time with the new in-laws that Laura had. One memory that I have from that night is glancing over at my sister snuggling up to her soon-to-be husband--emotion just washed over me right at that moment, she had found her man for life.
        :one year ago, having a picnic in the park {the traditional 4th experience} complete with hot dogs and snuggling up to little 3-mo. old UJ. Having the blankets tucked under our arms as we made our way to the baseball field and running out to the outfield when the game was over. We were also missing older brother Kyle and Laura since she had to take her infant boy home {I wonder if he'll watch the fireworks this year?...maybe not}. Eating watermelon and cataloupe under the light of a flashlight while waiting for all the other cars to leave the parking lot. Listening to Proud to Be an American and crying every single time I hear it with the fireworks booming above me. {I can't help it--it's one of those sappy, feel good songs}

This year: the tradition remains {with the addition of my husband being joined to the ranks} and we will continue to go to Carson Park and watch the fireworks with thousands of people from my town. We will ooh and aah over our favorites {mine are the white sparkly ones that sprinkle down like a shower until they disappear--which ones do you like the best?} 

I have images of amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties floating around my head today.


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