Life, Material, Travel

Sea Kayaking with Everyday California (SD Bucket List #9)

Save the time I called 911 to report that our family cat was missing, I like to think I can handle high-pressure situations pretty well. Apparently in the Amanda Book of Life, high-pressure situations do not include being surrounded by dolphins… which is exactly what happened last weekend during our Everyday California Whale Watching Tour.

First let’s address what Everyday California is… Formerly OEX, it is based out of La Jolla, CA and run by ridiculously good-looking ex-Abercrombie models. (Really – every employee was beautiful.). These are the cool kids, and they want to take you on the water and show you their world. Our guides were Sam and Draper. They were both high-energy, excited, and gave thunderous high-fives. The check-in process for our tour was a bit chaotic, but somehow we all ended up exactly where we were meant to be. There were about 17 of us (8 pairs and my girlfriend Taylor), lots of different familial pairings. We headed down to the beach at about a quarter to 2 PM (our tour time), to get situated in our kayaks before heading out into The Great Unknown. Charlie and I were in a kayak, and Taylor rocked the single. We were given the opportunity to rent wet suits, but I was in full Lulu, and we figured being Midwesterners, we would be fine.

My immediate thought when we were pushed into the water, was “I’m so glad I don’t have my phone/camera/tablet/any electronics.” You get wet on this adventure. Soaking. Kudos to Lulu for making unintentionally amphibious workout gear. (For reference I was in the Run Inspire Crop, Run Swiftly Tech Crew, and the Forme Jacket.) We started paddling out to Sea (about 2 Nautical Miles!) from La Jolla Cove, and I just couldn’t believe this was the first time we were doing something like this since moving to SD. The ocean was breathtaking and peaceful. On our way out to the “Whale Zone” we ran into some friendly seals and sea lions who stopped by to say hello. We also ate kelp, because apparently that is what the cool kids do.

After arriving at the “Whale Zone” we parked for a bit, waiting for some social whales to stop on by. We spotted a dolphin coming in from the distance – and I got so excited! A dolphin! A wild dolphin! Well apparently this dolphin was a scout for its pod, because soon after its arrival about fifteen dolphins showed up. They were jumping in the air, swimming together, flying under the water. It was absolutely unbelievable. At one point they zeroed in on our kayak and there were six swimming underneath and jumping in front of and to the side of our kayak. This is apparently where I lost my cool and just kept saying “THIS IS AMAZING!” over and over again. And asking Charlie if he saw the dolphins, to which he replied “I’m right here! Of course I see them!” Truly one of the few times I wished we had a GoPro, other than to strap it on to Tucker’s head. But I honestly don’t even think I could have worked a camera at that point. I was so awe-struck at the beauty of NATURE.

After some time with our dolphin friends, we headed back into the cove. To be honest, the only time I felt cold was getting OUT of the water, and walking back to EC. Other than that I was fine in my garments. But I can see why you may want a wetsuit if you’re not from Northern Michigan.

Another bonus of Everyday California is their merchandise! I am not one for buying “tourist-y” things – but their logo is just too cute to pass up. Trust me on this. I ended up buying a sweatshirt and leaving with it on. Because I was freezing.

Charlie and I are definitely planning to do a trip with Everyday California again – in fact we’ve already booked a Sea Cave and Snorkeling Tour when Charlie’s brother is here!

Tips for Everyday California:

  1. Call for great pricing. They do have Groupons pretty often, but if you call they give you a pretty comparable price. Plus it feels good to be directly supporting a local business.
  2. Parking can be tricky – arrive 45 minutes ahead of time to give yourself parking AND check-in time. They like to be on the water at your scheduled time. (There is also a super cute restaurant next door we want to check out next time – Shorehouse Kitchen)
  3. Bring CASH for tips – This is your Guide’s livelihood. We didn’t realize that and only had minimal cash on hand. We’ll plan better next time.
  4. Bring any waterproof cameras you may have – we plan on buying these before our next adventure.
  5. Equipment is included – except for a wetsuit. If you get cold easily, plan on renting one. (They’re not expensive to rent – maybe $10.)
  6. Be prepared to wear a helmet and life vest. This is for your safety, and the safety of people around you. Deal with it and prepare your hair ahead of time.
  7. Try not to black out when you see nature. You may think you’re better than that – but you’re not.

Since we also have surfing lessons planned for March, we decided to invest in some Rash Guards and Swim Pants/Trunks. Here is what we ended up with. Try not to be blinded by our stylishness. (All via Lands’ End)

Water Gear

Happy Swimming!



P.S. Since I failed to provide any cool live-dolphin photos, please accept this Lisa Frank Dolphin as a substitute.



tuesday crush: rifle paper co.

(1) Assorted Hello Cards (2) Whimsical Calling Cards (3) Thank You Notes (4) 2012 Botanical Calendar (5) Party Dots Invitations (6) Get It Done Notepad (7) Recipe Card (8) Happy Birthday Card

ONE WEEK UNTIL THE BAR EXAM. Insert heart attack/panic attack/anxiety/stress-baking/ohemgoodness. My posts are going to DRAMATICALLY decline over the next week – think of it as a super mysterious hiatus – in actuality I will not be showering nor practicing any other sort of personal hygiene and will most likely be completely out of my mind. Against – mysterious hiatus.

I LOVE stationery. I love stationery and I love paper products. So naturally, I love Rifle Paper Co. Here are some of my favorites… (It’s a condensed Tuesday Crush – did I mention in one week I’m taking the biggest exam of my life?)

Happy Writing!


Life, Material

how to dress comfortably…

As the Bar draws nearer and nearer I find myself caring less and less how I am presenting myself to the outside world. The only opinion that currently matters to me is the Illinois Bar Examiners. And I highly doubt they care what shoes I am wearing. (Actually, they do… “Please do not wear footwear that makes loud or distracting noise when you walk.”) Anyway, I have always been complimented on my way to dress up comfortable. One time in college a girl from my sorority ran into me wearing sweatpants and she found it necessary to call three of our mutual friends to tell them. They all followed up within ten minutes to make sure I was feeling okay. Actually, I wasn’t – but the point is – I like to present myself!!! But I also like to be really comfortable. So here we are… “How to dress comfortably… (without looking like a hobo).”

  • Zella Leggings – These leggings will legitimately blow your mind. I have had my current pair for three years and I can still bend over and not show the world my purple bunders. (We have all seen it happen – leggings weaken ladies, in case you didn’t know, I’m sure everyone around you does.) These are expensive – but worth EVERY penny.
  • Party Cardy – So this one is from J.Crew and ridiculously expensive (but it’s caaaashmere). Just go to Gap (like I did) and get a cardigan that you can wash. (But be weary of violent-button-ripping-laundry-machines).
  • Nice T-Shirt – This t-shirt is what $75? Do yourself a favor and go to the Gap and pick up 6 shirts for this. Seriously. All of the T’s in my closet are Gap… I should actually be somewhat embarrassed the ratio of Gap/non-Gap clothing in my closet. But they seem to always have the best selection – and I love their V-Necks!
  • Sperry Top-Siders – I am forever in love with these shoes. First of all – warning to the Sperry-first-timers  – these babies might make you bleed at first, but the pain is worth it. Because eventually they mold to your feet like a good pair of Birkenstocks – without the Hippie vibe. I have been a little disappointed with their lack of solid colors – they seem to mixing prints a lot – but these golds are amazing!
  • Monogrammed Earrings – I LOVE LOVE LOVE these – right now I have plain silver monogrammed earrings – but after the Bar I might just have to treat myself to these. You should definitely check out this website btw, a TON of cute things – and very very reasonable prices!
  • Lilly Pulitzer Murfee Scarf – I think the most important thing to making comfy look awesome is wearing something that catches the eye – and by that I do not mean sweatpants with holes! 🙂 I have a Murfee scarf (as well as about 12 pashminas) and I love that I can just throw them on with anything and it gives my outfit the nicest touch of color. Plus, it’s Lilly, you really cannot go wrong.

8 Days til the Bar!!!



tuesday crush: c. wonder

Chances are if something is REALLY COOL and I am telling you about it – I most likely learned about it from someone else. In this case Meg posted about C. Wonder a few days ago and since reading her blog is a ton more interesting than “Conflict of Laws” I decided to check it out…

OH EM GOODNESS. The cutest. All of it. I want it. Specifically that dress.

Each Tuesday I will try to do a “Crush” of some sort – it won’t necessarily be a brand, but could also be a blog… song… anything! And if you have anything that you think is crush-worthy – please share!

In other news – it is Valentine’s Day! Because I am just beyond stressed – Charlie and I are celebrating at home with a “Homemade Pizza” and a bottle of wine from Napa that my dear friend Lisa gave us. I can’t believe that in FOURTEEN DAYS I will be done with the first day of the Bar exam and a couple days after that will be on the way to the Adventure of a Lifetime!!! (More on that later!!!) I think a sign that you’re growing up is that you get more excited to GIVE than RECEIVE (even though it is still really fun to get gifts!) I cannot WAIT to give Charlie his present tonight – and I will let you all know how it goes tomorrow!

For now, Happy Valentine’s Day!


Life, Material

Date Night!

Again – this Bar stuff is literally the biggest time-sucker I have ever experienced in my life. So when Charlie suggested we go out to dinner to celebrate my Law School graduation I gleefully accepted, and scheduled it for about a month after I actually graduated. I am really trying to limit my social outings – because there is always studying to do. (This is being drafted while I’m eating lunch.)

 Anyway we settled on Jack’s on Halsted, which is AMAZING by the way. Charlie had some man-steak and I had the pork with maple mashed sweet potatoes. Yes you read that right, and yes I have a picture…It was so stinkin’ delicious!!!

They also had these cute little napkin man-shirts. I took an adorable picture of Charlie, but I think he would be highly unamused if I put it on here. Anyway… FASHION.

I LOVE dressing up, really, I do. And I guess I have a very 50’s prep style – I love high-waisted almost anything, especially skirts. So tonight I decided red would be my focal color (the color of passion right?). Anyway I sported my red-deal coat as well as an Ann Taylor skirt that I couldn’t find online – but it was polka dotted!

The ballet flats are my FAVORITE – they are from Born, and I have had them for what seems like forever. I feel like I always get a new pair of black ballet flats that stretch out/get a hole in them/lose them while crossing the street and then I find these in the back of my closet. Super trusty and durable. The bangle is from Kate Spade, (Charlie’s Christmas Present :-)), and I have had that Pandora since high school I think. The Skagen watch I have again, had forever. Last but not least those beautiful diamond studs? Totally fake, got them off of Groupon Goods. They’re actually Swarovski Zirconia, and they look just like the real thing!!!

Happy Dating!



So this happened today… (Retail Therapy)

The Bar exam is slowly eating away my body. I literally feel myself getting weaker. So in order to make sure I was physically still human I decided to go shopping. Reasonable, right? I set a strict budget (I have a “slushy fund” for days like this) and set off. On the list of things I “needed” – Skinny Belt and Faux Ray-Bans. (FTR I do not usually support faux anything other than fur, but with my record of sunglasses and the fact that I had a budget… they were going to be faux.)

And guess what? MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Naturally I had to take a picture of the sunnies on before buying them so I could ask Meg her opinion. Anyway the cardigans were necessary because I collect cardigans. I also wear them, but seriously I have every color of the rainbow except red… and yellow. But that’s it!

The skinny belts are for a dress I just got off of e-bay!!! I am SO stinking excited for it to come in the mail and as soon as it does I will try it on with my new belts and show y’all. (I can do that, I went to school by Kentucky).

In the meantime, back to studying!



Raining in style!


Raining in style!

Confession – This is actually a really sad post. It is in honor of the boots that never were. See, one day I was continuing my usual stalking of Sarah Vickers via Classy Girls Wear Pearls and I saw these. They were a combination of my two favorite things. Sperry and Quilt. (Top, third from the left). Therefore I had to have them. Naturally being the Budget Prep I am I sought the best deal and found them via Amazon/Shoebuy for $75 dollars. Win!

Unfortunately when they arrived I couldn’t my big old Johnson feet AND Nancy’s socks in the boots. And this just would not do. So I did what I’ve always dreaded doing… I ordered up a size, to an 11. Yikes! Sasquatch. Anyways, unfortunately when they came then they were too big. So in honor of the boots that never were I made a collection of the perfect way to dress up a rainy day.

Starting from the top upper-left-hand-corner.

The  Hunter Classic – Nothing is better, and I am pretty sure Ms. Middleton has been spotted wearing these, a lot. Also they have pint-sized versions for the children in your life that are worth $80 rain boots. All children.

The Burberry – I featured these twice. I have a severe unrequited love for Burberry. Nancy (my grandma) a few years ago non-chalantly handed down her vintage silk Burberry scarf to me… and I was hooked. Of course she also confessed at the same time that she had just thrown out her old Burberry Trench from the ’60s. Naturally, I died.

Sperry Hingham Boot – Described above. They have this delicious felt interior as well to keep my Chicago toes toasty.

(going clockwise…)

Tretorn Short – I LOVE Tretorn. Currently my rain boots are a bright-red-knee-high Tretorn and they are amazing. They also don’t cut off the circulation to my feet and I can fit in jeans/pants because of the adjustable sides.

Regardless, I secretly LOVE rainy days. Probably has something to do with being an April baby.

Happy Puddles!



Target + Nautical = Happy Manders

Target Goes Nautical
Have you ever gone to Target for one thing? Correction… I’m sorry, let me rephrase… Have you ever gone to Target for one thing and left with a million things you actually had no idea that you needed but then suddenly found that you did? This was my recent experience at The Gypsy Woman that is Target. I went in to get some final things for the Bridal Shower/Bachelorette and ended up with the above. There are very few things that I love more than nautical patterns; one of these things is nautical patterns at a decent price. (See above). These are SO going in my suitcase for PCH!

Wish List

Wish List

As I have already mentioned… studying for the Bar exam is probably the must excruciating experience I have ever been a part of… Seriously, ever. But the GOOD news is that the sooner I pass the Bar… the sooner I can get a job… and the sooner I can begin checking things off this baby…
  1. Ray Ban Shades. Yes, I own the Target ones. No it is not the same thing. I have had the same D&G Audrey Hepburn glasses since… sophomore year of college (which really… is a record…). But I REALLY want to be sporting some wayfarers. And not just the neon ones you get at sorority formals.
  2. Faith western cowgirl boots. Okay so this is not necessarily a cost thing. They are just SOLD OUT of my size. So I am hoping by wishing to the WordPress and kind of freaking out a bit that they will magically be in stock again. Because that would make me happy.
  3. Diamond Studs. I WANT THESE. For graduation it was between getting diamond studs or this set of stackable diamond rings we found at our local jeweler. It seemed liked, for the money, getting the rings was smarter because – holy crap – studs are expensive! That of course makes me want them all the more.
  4. Barbour Jacket. When my dear friend Wendy started a Boutique in Ann Arbor a year and a half ago she was all “Barbour this… Barbour that…” And me, being of brought up solely on Lilly and Tommy Hilfiger stock had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. Well now I do. And I want it. I found this baby on Sarah Vicker’s New Blog. I really really love this girl… Which is why…
  5. Pink Pineapple Anchor Sweater. I’m assuming most people by now know who Kiel James Patrick is. (Sarah Vicker’s Boyfriend). Anyway, they just started carrying Sarah’s favorite sweaters. And I want. So badly. Specifically this anchor one.
  6. Christian Louboutin Flats. So being as I am 5’10, the hooker height of heels that our good buddy Christian creates is really unnecessary. So all I want is a nice flat from them… Who am I kidding. I would take anything with a red sole.
  7. Burberry Tote. I don’t even think I need to explain this one. Because everyone knows my obsession with Burberry. It all stemmed from my Grandma Nancy nonchalantly giving me her vintage silk burberry scarf. And then mentioning she had just got rid of her old trenchcoat from the 50’s. I know, you’re probably dying too.
  8. Joe’s Jeans. LOVE the idea of these. Hate the price. Gap jeans are actually my best bet due to the fact that I inherited my mother’s abs and my father’s legs. Love them. But I would also love to invest in a really nice pair of jeans one day. Special Occasion Jeans. SOJ if you will.

Signing off! Studying to do!