Monday, May 28, 2012


This is silly but look at this old book cover I spotted at Powell's City of Books the other day! It's Martha!

While the youthful face and Lady Di hair are fantastic all on their own, are we appreciating her high waisted electric blue pants and yellow oxford button up combo? You know some hipster kid is walking around right now in that exact same outfit. Oh, Martha- setting trends for generations to come!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I've always thought it would be so lovely to have a home with a big beautiful garden full of fresh fruits and veggies, beautiful flowers (I love hydrangeas and peonies), and perhaps even some fresh lavender. The only problem is that I am terrible at keeping plants alive! My green thumb is more of a black thumb of death. I've tried growing herbs in little pots (I think I attempted basil, rosemary, and thyme) and failed miserably. The poor little guys never stood a chance. When I lived in Los Angeles I even tried to keep a cactus or two. And failed. I couldn't even take care of a desert plant.

But I won't give up that easily. Being the brave pair that we are- we're considering planting a few herbs and some flowers in pots for our balcony. It would definitely liven it up out there but I told Mr. Butter he's going to have to be in charge of their care. I will help, but I will need his supervision.

Little did I know that an alternative existed. When I was out on one of my afternoon walks last week I saw these "plants" made out of fabric at Anthropologie and thought -"gasp! These are meant for me!" I think they might just be for display though. Only the big planter had a price tag. Oh well, it could be a great opportunity for a fun DIY project! Think of all of the possibilities! I still want some edible plants though...fresh tomatoes and herbs are just so delightful!

These would be so cute on our kitchen windowsill or on a side table for the balcony. Hmmm....better start brainstorming on a how-to!

Mini Home Tour

Over the past few months I have been working hard to turn our little apartment into a cozy home. This is the first apartment we picked out together as a married couple. I think it does a good job of showcasing both of our personalities. It's classic with a twist (Tim's the classic and I'm the twist). :) Here are some previews:

From top left corner (clockwise): Bust of David; Framed photo of a lion statue, our built in fireplace, and a driftwood tree and flameless candles; Faux fur blanket and linen pillow case on our sofa. All from Restoration Hardware.
From top (clockwise): A selection of our books (mine are on the left- art and music/ his are on the right- lots of biographies); my jewelry display and a photo of us (Vintage frame, hooks from Restoration Hardware); our bed- taupe and ivory pinstripe euro shams, ivory pillow cases, stone quilted pillow shams, linen accent pillow, stone linen duvet cover (all Restoration Hardware). 

Just a little glimpse into our living room and bedroom style. I have to admit my favorite room in our apartment is our guest bathroom. It's probably because it's extra feminine, always smells good, and where I take all of my bubble baths. I know it's strange to love a bathroom, but it's just so lovely! I'll share more photos from around our little home some day. 


Happy Weekend!

I hope everyone is enjoying their extra long Memorial Day weekend! Ours has been lovely thus far- lots of good food, good company, and relaxation. Now that I've cleaned our apartment top to bottom, I finally have time to focus on updating the blog, perhaps working on some long overdue scrapbooks, and cooking more delicious meals.

Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guess what....

....Or I guess I should say guess who I saw today?!....

Oh, I was so happy!!!!! I haven't seen him in weeks and it's been so unfortunate. But this morning as we were pulling up to the coffee shop I saw him sitting there looking beautiful as always and my heart jumped for joy! I knew it would be a good day, and I was right! He was an omen of all the good things to come out of today. More on that later though...

For now, let's just enjoy the adorableness (is that even a word?) of Mr. Pup. 


A Walk Down Memory Lane

After work I often walk over to the coffee shop down the road and spend some time working on the blog, doing research on graduate programs, reading a good book, etc. Today they are playing The Postal Service "Give Up" album in it's entirety and it's making me rather nostalgic. I listened to this album on repeat when I was in high school and have every song memorized. I would write all of my papers, work on art projects, and spend endless hours chatting with my friends online with this album on in the background. I kind of forgot just how much I loved it until now. Knowing me I will probably start listening to it on repeat again. 

And now let's journey back in time and meet the Postal Service loving high school Amanda:

So I can't figure out how my hair always looked nice back then...Either I spent an obscene amount of time on it (as many high school girls do) or it had some magical teenage powers because it never looks like that anymore. And I have very little patience for styling it. I've got to get that hair back! I do remember that I used big purple hot rollers, which I have repurchased now. But I still have to blow dry my hair first, and all you thick haired ladies out there will agree when I say that is just no fun at all. 

And let's take a moment to appreciate the absurdity of our cap and gown color choice. Yes, that is shiny silver. The boys wore dark green and we wore silver. In the field on a sunny California day we looked like baked potatoes roasting in the sun. But at least we were fabulous. 

Sometimes it is rather fun traveling back in time. It makes me even more excited for the future!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Let's Go For A Walk

Portland had been rather generous with it's weather lately, and I actually fell for it. I thought the sunshine and clear skies were here to stay for the summer, and oh how I was wrong! Portland decided to go back to it's old ways this week and bring forth misty rain and gray shadows. But miraculously the clouds lifted and the rain departed for a few hours this afternoon. I wouldn't dream wasting such a lovely moment so I went for a walk! It was a bit windy so I popped into a few of my favorite stores as well. Here's some photos from this pretty afternoon:

Above: Fun colorful watches at Anthropologie, Giant oil paint sticks and playful papers at the art store, and vintage dresses on the street. 

Beautiful display inside Anthropologie.

I always love the window displays at Anthro. It would be SO much fun to make these.

I love how these turned out. They are so funky. 

I hope you had a pretty afternoon too!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Before Tim and I got married I lived without cable. Yes, it's true. No television for this girl. I was living on such a small budget I simply couldn't justify spending any money on television. I didn't even have the internet for a while (gasp!). But I did have a tv and dvd player so I watched lots of shows on dvd. Some of my old favorites include Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Frasier, Gossip Girl (yes, I admit it!), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (so good).

Now that I'm a married woman with a husband who needs his ESPN like fish need water, we have cable. We even have HBO. And oh boy, it's addictive. I have new favorite shows now, and pretty much all of them are on HBO.

We orginally got sucked in with Boardwalk Empire. Oh, Nucky- you are so good, yet so so bad. If you haven't seen this yet, you must! Steve Buscemi is fabulous in it, as is the rest of the cast. The costumes and set design are amazing as well!

After that, we started trying out other HBO shows. And along with the rest of the world we got completely obsessed with Game of Thrones. Do yourself a favor and go buy Season 1 and just start watching it RIGHT NOW. But make sure you don't have anything important to take care of first because you won't want to stop. You will become a sleep deprived zombie just to watch 1 more episode...and then  1 more...and then, you get the picture.

Now we're branching out even more. Tim has started to watch Veep, which I was hesitant towards at first but now share in the hilarity of it. And I'm still testing out Girls, which is about four women in their twenties living in NYC. It's often compared to Sex and the City but it is far, far less glamorous.

HBO was like a gateway drug to other "premium channel" shows. We decided to try out Showtime's Homeland. Yeah, that was a good/bad idea because all of a sudden I couldn't get enough of that either! Oh how we love On Demand programming!

We still love our old shows, and spend many nights cuddled up in bed watching Frasier. I mean, how can you not love Niles? And I will never get tired of Eddie and his adorable antics! My sister told me that her first year graduate students born in the 1990s (let's not even get started on that) had never seen an episode of Friends. Can you even imagine?! I have seen every episode probably twenty times. We must right this wrong in the world!!!

What are your favorite shows? Which ones can you watch over and over again and never get tired of? I'd love to hear!

Photo Credits: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

The Shopping Bug

Ever since we went shopping in Soho I can't seem to get rid of the shopping bug! Luckily for us, I am a frugal shopper and love finding a good deal!! Nordstrom Rack, H&M, and the sale room at Anthropologie are all fantastic places to find fun trendy looks without breaking the bank. But you know where else is? Forever 21. That's right, I said it. Once you reach your twenties openly shopping at Forever 21 becomes taboo. But almost every lady I know owns something from Forever. It's a great place to snag up some funky, trendy pieces that you would never spend hundreds of dollars on otherwise. Or if you're like me and can't seem to satisfy that shopping itch, you can fulfill your shopping needs without going broke! I found some great pieces there this weekend and I can't wait to wear them all! Shall we take a look?

I am in love with my polka dot skirt! It even has lining (a Forever 21 rarity)! And it was under $20!

I got the dress version of this skirt which is ordinarily something I would never go for, but I am so glad I did! It's quickly becoming one of my favorite pieces for the summer!
(Side note: apparently Forever's website does not match the product in stores as I was unable to locate images of the long flowy rust skirt I got or the 2 bib necklaces- $4 each, thank-you-very-much!)

Okay, so this jacket is not from Forever. I got it at Top Shop in NYC and I can't get enough of it!! It goes with practically everything and is perfect for these spring/summer/??? days where Portland can't decide if it wants to be hot or cold. 

I'm rather sad still that I didn't snag up this amazing dress at Anthropologie when it was on sale. It would have been perfect for our Italian honeymoon. Up close it looks like a beautifuly aged canvas. 

I am, however, very happy that I snagged up this dress at H&M. It makes me feel like I'm strolling the cobblestone streets of a small French village in the countryside. 

As you can see I got little distracted here. I blame the shopping bug! 
Other things on my wish list: a pair of colorful Salt Waters (yes, still), a flowy high/low skirt, breezy sleeveless dress shirts for the summer, and an electric pink lipstick! What about you??

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! 

Photo Credits: 1 / 2 / 3 /4 / 5

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I don't really know how to start this post. I want to write about Maura. I want the world to know about Maura. So I will just write. 

I met Maura when we were just two little kids in elementary school. It didn't take long for us to become inseperable. We would do everything together. We went on family vacations together, played after school together, made mock fashion shoots together, and shared everything with each other. When we reached the teenage years we were still two peas in a pod. We took dance classes, played in band, sang in choir, acted in plays and musicals, recorded our own music videos, and talked about boys on the phone for hours on end. 

I moved to California half way through high school. Saying good bye to Maura then was hard. I had no idea how much harder it would be all those years later. She made me a scrapbook of all of our years growing up together. I still have it and look through it often. It's so special to me. It holds all of our childhood dreams and aspirations. When I moved away I missed her so much. I missed having a best friend that was really truly more like my sister. 

I still remember the day I found out Maura had cancer. I was at work during my last year of college. I got the message from a mutual friend and I hid in the bathroom stall at the Getty trying to convince myself that it couldn't be true. That it was all a misunderstanding and everything would be fine. 

I really truly believed in Maura and her strength. She was by far the most beautiful person that I have ever known. And that girl was strong. 

The day she passed away my life changed. I truly believe her journey and her life changed my own. For the first time I felt the fragility of life. This time on earth is a gift from God. And I wanted to make sure I lived my life without fear, with passion, and with the strength and courage that Maura lived hers with. 

Because of Maura I had the courage to tell Tim about my feelings for him. It wasn't long after she passed away that I decided I didn't want to waste another minute of my life without telling him about my feelings. And it was the best thing I have ever done! 

On Maura's birthday (about a month after she passed away) I spent the day with Tim. He sat there so patiently and lovingly as I showed him our scrapbook and listened as I shared all of our stories and times together. He played me a video by Rob Bell about grieving. It touched me so deeply and for the first time since she passed I let all of my emotions out. I cried...a lot. But it was so good. And I knew right then and there that he was special too. 

We had a slideshow of photos at our wedding that played during our ceremony. When the photo of me and Maura came up my mom looked back at me. It took all of my strength to hold it together in that moment. But I was so happy that she was there. 

My dear Maura, I love you and miss you always. Thank you for teaching me about friendship, and what it means to live your life without fear and always with faith. My mother told me that the reason it hurt so much when we lost you was because the time we had with you was so good. And it was. It was the best. 

I am so thankful that I spent my childhood with such a beautiful inspiring person. She helped make me the person I am today and for that, I am grateful. Her family was my second family, and I will always think of her as my sister. 

-Playing "Dante's Peak" outside of Maura's house in the rain. We used wet newspapers as "ash". 
-Accidentally recording our Britney Spears home music video over my dad's taping of Dr. Zhivago. 
-Rolling Apples! (That one will always be our special joke)
-Our Spice Girls fashion shoot. 
-Our Disney character friendship bracelets from our Disney World vacation. 
-The BFF picture frame Maura made me out of popsicle sticks. 
-The yellow and teal bracelet Maura made me that last year. 
-Playing with Maura's sister Lydia's trombone. We wanted to play trombone so badly! We wanted to do anything Lydia did. 
-Choreographing dance routines to weird Star Wars songs.
-Our Marilyn routine. I still remember it. We performed that so many times! It was wonderful. 
-The time we decided it was a good idea to drink pickle juice and eat the salt from the bottom of a pretzel bag. It was in fact not a good idea. 
-Maura's dog Rascal always stealing my cream cheese. 
-Staying up all night trying to sew our Flinstones costumes for the Sadie Hawkins dance. Maura's date ended up with a very tiny top. 
-Camping with the DeSouza's. 
-All of the activities we did together: Band, choir, dance, musicals, plays, track. Oh, we were terrible at track! We would just go sit in the middle of the field when we got tired of running and play with the flowers. 
-And so so so many more. 

In our lovely choir dresses!

One of our themed dress up shoots. This was "Business Woman". 

Maura as Baby Spice. 

Identical hair and braces. Twins!

We loved taking photo booth pics. Especially the sticker ones!

Beautiful girl. 

I can't believe it's been three years. 

Maura passed away from Sarcoma. Sarcoma is an under-researched, under-funded cancer. Please consider making a contribution to this research and donate to: MD Anderson Cancer Center- Donations, PO Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210. Please write "In memory of Maura de Souza" in the memo portion of the check to make sure the donation goes directly to sarcoma research. 

Here's a link to a video of her beautiful graduation. It's so special and touching. 

Ya-ya-sha-boo my dear Maura!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


It has been a very busy week for this girl (thumbs pointed at me). It's only Wednesday and I am already anxiously awaiting the arrival of the weekend! Sleeping in, cleaning up our messy home, and lounging around all sound so absolutely wonderful right about now. But all of that will just have to wait! It's been a productive week and my fingers are crossed that something very positive will come from all of the hard work! But there is more hard work to be done!

On this early yet delightfully sunny morning I have found my way back to the computer to give some love and attention to my little blog, but I am sad to say the more exciting posts (continuation of the Rome Guide, recipes, and perhaps even a DIY project!) will have to wait a few more days. There's only so much a girl can do in each span of twenty four hours! And right now I am doing my best not to fall asleep here in the coffee shop.

Until next time....!

Monday, May 14, 2012


I came across this amazing photo of Tim's family dog Wrigley when he was just a pup. It makes my heart happy. He's so little here (he's practically a giant now), and look at those ears! Plus, he looks so genuinely happy. I wish I knew him back in the day when he was just a little fella runnin' around like this!

But I sure am glad I know him now! He's a funny fellow. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dear Mom

Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful, beautiful, fantastic mom! I am forever grateful for her love and support. She has always encouraged me to chase my dreams and make them a reality, and has inspired me to be brave, strong, and to live a life of love. Thank you mama for being such a great example for us girls and for always believing in us! I am so thankful for you and couldn't ask for a better mother. 

And happy mother's day to all of you mothers, moms to be, grandmothers, and mother figures! As an extra bonus of marriage, I now have another mama in my life! Happy Mother's Day to Kim, my mother-in-law! Thank you for raising such a wonderful son, and for your strength, courage, and love you show each and every day! You are a truly inspiring woman and we love you so so so much!!!

Here's some more wonderful mama photos:

Mama D and her Mama.

(I'm tellin' ya- Tim's family really nailed it with the professional photos! I wish we had more gems like this!!) This is so wonderful it melts my heart a little. 

Yes, my amazing mom wore a cute waiter outfit and served fake champagne and cakes in the shape of martinis for my 17th birthday party. It was 1960s themed- you had to come dressed according to the theme and my wonderful mother made us all a four course meal. Still one of my favorite birthday celebrations ever!

Sister, mama, me.

Tim's favorite photo of him and his mom. :)


It's Good to be Back...

Saturday morning I finally made it over to the Oregon College of Art and Craft for their Open Life Drawing Class. And oh was it good to be back in that setting! I really enjoyed college and I love everything about an art studio setting. The first thing I noticed when I entered the room was the smell. The wonderful scent of oil paint. It smells like hard work and passion and happiness. 

Another wonderful thing about studios are the floors. Concrete splattered with gesso and paint and the blood, sweat, and tears of art students. So many hours are spent in these rooms. The history is on the floors. My painting studio space during my senior year at UCLA was...well, it was a mess. But a mess that I loved. See for yourself...

Time to get to work! I can't make that kind of a mess in the studio I have now, but someday I will be able to unleash my wild messy side again. :)

Chocolate Extravaganza!

Oh my, it has been quite the busy weekend! Friday evening I had the pleasure of attending a Chocolate Extravaganza party with the lady Donahues. Tim's father bought tickets to this lovely event at an charity auction a while back and kindly handed them over to the ladies in his life. It was my first event of the sort and I was not disappointed. There was a heavenly chocolate punch, chocolate dipped strawberries, mint chocolate brownies, flourless chocolate cake, chocolate cake with flour, cheesecake, and some kind of fluffy meringue cake concoction that tasted wonderful even though i wasn't quite sure what was going on with it. The only thing missing was a chocolate fondue fountian. I was really hoping there would be one so I could entertain myself with dipping various tasty treats in it. Another time, another time...

Here's some proof that this delectable event did in fact take place (since it sounds too good to be true!). I recommend a chocolate party to all!

This one was my favorite! Key lime cheesecake with a chocolate crust, topped with blackberries and lime zest. Yum!

Mmmm, chocolate.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

I truly believe these to be the best peanut butter cookies I have ever tasted. They are soft and chewy and oh-so-peanut-buttery and not too sweet. And they are vegan.

Benefits of the vegan part: 1. You can eat the cookie dough raw! and 2. You probably already have all of the ingredients in your cupboard. No need to mess with eggs!

I get requests for this recipe all the time. But it's not my recipe! I got it from the absolutely wonderful all vegan blog Chocolate Covered Katie. She practically saved me from starvation when I decided 5 months ago to start eating primarily vegan. Her recipes are innovative and delicious! Do not be frightened by the fact that these are vegan/healthy cookies- they are the best! Mr. Butter can't get enough of them.

Here is the recipe for her Secret Peanut Butter Cookies.

Try them and thank me later for the suggestion, but really thank Katie for her delicious recipe! :)

Photo via Chocolate Covered Katie. 

Artists: Yinka Shonibare, MBE

Fact: Art is my passion. And a huge part of being an artist is studying other artists and understanding the history you come from. I'd like to start sharing work by some of the artists that inspire me and have made an impact on my growth and development. First up, Yinka Shonibare, MBE. 

I first saw Yinka Shonibare's work at the Venice Biennale in 2007. His piece stood out in my memory among the hundreds of artworks I saw there. That fall I took a Modern and Contemporary African Art History class at UCLA with Professor Steven Nelson, and I had the great opportunity and pleasure of learning more about Shonibare's work. 

Shonibare creates elaborate Victorian clothing from what is recognized as African prints. These cloths were originally made in Holland and sold to colonies in Africa. This cloth made in Europe is worn by millions of Africans and is intended to signify an indigenous identity. This brings up questions of authenticity and acknowledges the elaborate history of the cloth itself. Is identity a construction? Many of the figures are also depersonalized (often headless or covered in cloth) and we are left with the material as a primary signifier. 

His works are so beautifully constructed yet so charged with questions of identity and politics as well. I think that's why I am initially drawn to his work- it's stimulates both the mind and the eye.

All images via the artist's website. You can view it here