Check out my Wedding website:

Check out my Wedding website:.

The Devil in the White City: Review

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed AmericaThe Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished reading this book and I loved it. Maybe it’s because I love non-fiction. I am also a big fan of mysteries, and I love books about fairs (weird I know, but I have a thing for fairs and circuses) and history so this was right up my alley. After reading this book, I have new-found appreciation for architects, engineers and landscapers. The book also left me wondering why on Earth some people act and do the things they do. (i.e. The serial killer, Holmes.) I would also love to pay a visit to Chicago now and see some of the places they discuss in the book. The author links the creation and construction of the World’s Fair in Chicago with America’s first serial killer, H.H. Holmes, who builds a “murder castle” about a block away and lures in unsuspecting guest from the fair to his dark lair. You get a very good mix of dark and grand, accomplishment and destruction. I would recommend this book to really anyone, fiction and non-fiction lovers alike, although parts of it are pretty gory, or maybe disturbing. I also heard that Leonardo Dicaprio is making this into a movie!!! If that’s true, then I can’t wait until it opens!! Another book I would highly recommend if you do like this one would be “Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan regarding Frank Lloyd Wright another architect, about the same time period as this book.

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View all my reviews

Confession Time

Ok. So I haven’t written in a week. I am sorry. I don’t really have an excuse it’s just sometimes my blog gets put on the back-burner. I work 40 hours a week at my real job, I have a side job watching children at my church every Wednesday and Sunday for at least 8 hours a week sometimes longer, I volunteer mentoring a child for an hour or two each Monday after work at the Boys and Girls Club, I am trying to cook more and hang out with Richard and I babysit a lot… I have several people who are always calling me for jobs, it’s like my third job. Really! Ugh. Sometimes… I am like -“nothing to do for a couple of hours!” So I will catch up on tv shows or some kind of project.

Like right now, I have what I think could be some great curtains I am working on for my bedroom, but they are being put aside as well… partly due to my sewing machine not cooperating. Richard- Didn’t you say would help me look at that? Thanks Babe! 🙂

All of that to say.. yeah I have big goals for this blog but sometimes it’s really hard to get it all in. There are not enough hours in the day to do what I want to do, or sometimes other things are more important, and do be honest, I see other people’s blogs and I am like, oh they have such a cool life and it makes me want to document mine, but just because I don’t always have a lot of content doesn’t necessarily mean I have a boring life or I am not doing anything. I think I just need to find a good balance.

I do have something really exciting that I want to do soon with this blog, but again, due to other circumstances, i.e. the weather, or being busy it keeps getting put off also. I have an idea, a vision but for one reason or another it can’t seem to come together.

Now I am rambling so I will stop there, I think you, (hopefully) understand what I was trying to say.

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Cutest Video on the Whole Internet.

I saw this video today and really wanted to share. This video will make you happy. 🙂 Promise. Just watch it.

the Scared is scared from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo.

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Instagram Update

Here are my latest pictures…remember to follow along in realtime @amandawatkins2.





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Happy Valentine’s Day Loves

I won’t lie. This is one of my favorite days. Always has been, even when I didn’t have a boyfriend. I just love this day!

I think it reminds me of Christmas where really anything can happen!  Haha… I know, that’s dorky right?

Have any of you ever seen the movie Valentine’s Day, it really was a let down movie in my opinion, but I like to think I am like the Ashton Kutcher character, who is in love with Valentine’s Day. (Speaking of that, with SOOO many famous really good actors why was that movie such a bust?) If you want to see a really good movie about love, check out  Paris, Je T’aime. Okay, so most of the movie is in French, that’s ok that’s why they invented subtitles and anyways French is a really romantic language anyways. It’s an indie film basically with 5-10 short stories, but it’s so good!!


I still love the vintage-y cards. Just saying!

Anyways, I wrote this post to today basically just to say that I hope everyone has the best Valentines Day ever and whether you have a significant other or not, just have fun today and share the love.

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Happy Birthday to My Brother:

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Today is my little brothers birthday! (It makes me feel old)

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This is us when we were little!!
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(By the way… my Mom always tried to make home-made  Halloween costumes, that year I was a witch and Nathan was a ninja turtle. haha)

Even though you were an instigator and tried to get me in trouble, I still love you and wish you the best day ever!

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Love you Nathan!

Happy Birthday!

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Why I Blog – Being Purposeful

I started blogging because, I somehow stumbled upon this girl’s blog one day, and then slowly starting reading other girl’s blogs…until one day, I thought ” I could do that.” 

So became this blog.

At first, it was just a personal blog, with not really a lot of depth or anything to it… but over the last few weeks I have decided that I want to give this blog a purpose.

I want to have meaningful posts that aren’t just about me specifically.

As you are aware, if you have been following me, I studied family consumer science in school and so I am familiar with cooking/nutrition, sewing/fashion design, families and relationships, interior design, child development and teaching, I also ventured off track while in college and took some business classes and some art, and I decided what better way to use all the skills I have learned over the years than to blog. I decided that if I REALLY put some time and some effort and made it a little more specific to only these topics, it could go somewhere with it.

So that’s what I am doing. Hopefully, over the next few months you will see mostly only topics above, I will still post some personal things, but not as much. I am not by  any means an expert on any of the topics I studied, as my major was so broad that I only took 1-2 classes per topic but I love talking about those topics and I think I can still get my “teaching” itch out by teaching you things I learned or am currently learning.

So you will see a lot more tutorials and how to’s and more book reviews, ideas, on the topics specific above!

I am going to try to tab them all at the top, so that if you are really interested in one specific topic then you can see what I wrote there! Of course all post will stream through my main page.

So… come along and follow me on this journey, and like I have stated before, I am still learning a lot but I really hope you will help me learn!  If you have any advice for me, ideas, suggestions, comments please feel free to contact me!! email me @

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How I Made the Best Steaks of My Life Last Night:

So, you know how Richard and I are following that app I was telling you about

Well last night was steak night, and we were supposed to grill them out on the grill but unfortunately, neither one of us has grill…

So we broiled them, it was the first time I had done this and I was nervous about how they would turn out but… they were a-mazing!

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Here is what we did…


You you will need:

  • Steaks – I used 1 lb =2 cube steaks
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp of soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 large freezer bag
  • Tongs
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Broiler
  • Good set of oven mitts

1. Marinate the steaks in a baggie with 1/4 cup of olive oil and 2 tbsp of soy sauce for 30 minutes.

2. While they are marinating, set the oven to the highest temperature possible using the broiler.

3. Move the oven rack up to the highest place it will go, and put my cast iron skillet in there to heat up.

4. After the steaks are done marinating, take out the cast iron skillet.(It will be REALLY hot!) Put one of the steaks in the cast iron and stick it back in the oven for 3 minutes.

5. After the 3 minutes, turn the steak with the tongs and stick back in for 3 more minutes.

6. Turn one more time and then cook till desired result of how done you want your steak to be. Richard and I both like our steaks pretty done we set them to 5 minutes and they came out perfect! So, if you don’t want them that done, I would say 3-5 minutes. (You will just have to experiment with this part.)

7. Repeat for the other steak.

* Warning: Because the steaks cook so close to the burner there is a LOT of smoke, so make sure you can open some windows, the smoke is worth it though!

Cinnamon Chipotle Potatoes:

You will need:

  • 4 Medium Red skinned potatoes
  • cinnamon
  •  Steak seasoning
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Cooking spray

1 Preheat the oven to 425*.

2. Spay the aluminum foil with the cooking spray

3. Cut the potatoes in chunks. (In hindsight, I cut my too big and they took a lot longer then I wanted for them to cook.)

4. Place the cut potatoes on the foil and sprinkle with cinnamon and seasoning to your liking.

5. Cover with another piece of foil also sprayed and place in the oven at 425*

6. I let mine cook the entire time we were waiting on the steaks, I just cooked until they were done to my liking, about 30-40 minutes.

We served some cut fresh watermelon with our steak and potatoes, but you could do whatever you wanted.

Let me know if you try this or if you have a different way to cook steaks!


Fashion Icons

When I dress up, I would like to think that my style is a little vintage, a little mod.

I LOVE bright colors, patterns, skirts/tights, etc.

Here are a couple of my favorite style icons.

Zooey Deschannel:




Who are your favorite style icons for inspiration?