simple pleasures

Falling In Love With Classic Fall Movies

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It’s that time of the year again for my seasonal favorite classic movies: Fall edition. These are my top 10 movies that I love to watch when the air turns crisp, the leaves begin to change into their brilliant colors, and the sweet smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin spice everything fills the air. There is no certain order to the list, though my number one favorite is listed as number one. It’s no surprise too that a few of these are from Alfred Hitchcock. His movies are what inspired my love for the classics and some are truly spooky with a bit of thrill to them. Speaking of, you’ll find some scary thrillers on this list for Halloween and also breathtaking fall foliage along with back to school themes. Without further ado, here are my favorite fall classics, with one honorable mention at the end! 

  

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1. The Trouble With Harry

This is without a doubt my most favorite fall movie. I watch it as soon as fall begins and then a few times after. I watched it just this past weekend and it truly never gets old. The trouble with Harry is that he is dead. It’s as simple as that! It’s a Hitchcock movie that doesn’t necessarily feel like a Hitchcock one, but the suspense is still there along with a good dose of English humor. This was Shirley MacLaine’s first big movie role and she fit the part perfectly. The little boy, that’s Jerry Matthews or more commonly know as The Beaver from Leave It To Beaver. The best part about the movie is the scenery. The breathtaking views of the Vermont countryside at their peak in October. A fun fact, the film crew got most of the exterior shots done for the movie, though not all, before a snow storm hit the area and knocked all of the leaves off of the trees. Afterwards, everyone packed up and headed back to Los Angles to complete filming on a sound stage. Hitchcock had the idea to also pack up the leaves that had fallen off of the trees and ship them to LA as well. When they arrived, they were painted and then pinned to the trees on the set. Pretty cool idea! 

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 2. Psycho

Arguably, this is Hitchcock’s most famous movie and with good reason too. Ever been afraid to take a shower? It’s becuase of this movie. It’s quite a psychological thriller with twists and turns and one of, if not the best, psychological killers out there. Anthony Perkins portrayal of Normal Bates is a masterpiece to watch. No one could have quite played the part like he did. I actually based my high school senior project on this movie, specifically Norman Bates. I’m not sure if schools still require the year long “senior project” but at the time mine did. I researched mental health focusing on multiple personality disorder, which is what Norman Bates suffers from. While doing my presentation, I showed clips form the movie, which my teeachers LOVED. 

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 3. Murder By Death:

This is such a good movie and one that is underrated in my opinion! It’s a classic who done it starring one of my favorite detectives of all time, Peter Faulk (who plays Colombo on television.)  This movie reminds me very much of the game Clue, which I also love. I even have a Hitchcock edition of Clue! The plot revolves around five famous literary detectives and their sidekicks who are invited to a bizarre mansion to solve an even crazier murder. The halarity that ensues is priceless! There are so many great actors in this too from Peter Faulk, Peter Sellers, Alec Guinesses, David Niven, Maggie Smith, James Coco, and even Truman Capote. James Coco’s character of Milo Perrier portrays the famous Hercule Poirot and is my favorite in the movie. He’s just too funny! A fun fact is that while Alec Guinness was filming this movie he was reading a script he recently received from a little known director named George Lucas. That movie, Star Wars. 

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4. When Harry Met Sally:  

This movie has to be one of the most popular rom coms ever made. While it does go through multiple seasons, the fall foliage ones are amazingly beautiful. The true quest of the movie is debating the question if men and women can truly be just friends without becoming romantically involved. I love Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in this movie. Their chemistry together is superb and of course the New York backdrop fits in perfectly as well.  

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5. Bell, Book, And Candle:  

Kim Novak entrances in this film with her hypnotic eyes that cast a romantic spell. If you like witches, this one is for you. This movie actually inspired the beloved television classic Bewitched starring Elizabeth Montgomery. Kim plays a modern day witch living in a New York apartment when a handsome gentleman, Jimmy Stewart, moves into the apartment above her.   Jack Lemmon also stars as Kim’s brother with magical powers as well. 

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6. The Birds:  

Another Hitchcock classic (aren’t they all?!) that takes a look at what happens when birds decide they’ve had enough and start attacking people. Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren star in this masterpiece where survival becomes the priority. I love this movie. It’s one of my most watched Hitchcock films and one of my most watched all time films. The tension slowly builds with impending doom for the town and characters involved compounded by the fact the viewers are never given any real answers. Even the end of the film never has the words “The End” written. This was only the beginning of the terror created by our fluffy bird friends. It’s mesmerizing to watch. 

 

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7. Sleepy Hallow

 Sleepy Hallow may be a relatively recent classic, but in my opinion a classic none the less. This stars Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane in a re-telling of Washington Irving’s classic short story.  This tends to fall more on the scary side with the folklore of the headless horseman terrorizing the townspeople of Sleepy Hallow. I’ve been quite of fan of this story for as long as I can remember. I used to watch the Disney version, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad and also loved the version from Are You Afraid Of The Dark, The Tale Of The Midnight Ride. One of my favorite shows, Murder She Wrote, also has a Sleepy Hallow tale with The Night Of The Headless Horseman. 

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8. Harry Potter And The Sorcerers Stone:  

This is the first Harry Potter movie, based on the books by J. K. Rowling, but any of the Potter films are great for fall time and back to school inspiration. The books and movies are truly magical and incredibly well done. A sense of wonder and excitement always comes with any of the Harry Potter movies. There’s even a bit of fright with the evil that haunts the magical world. Magic literally comes to life in these films and it’s breathtaking to watch. As a long time Harry Potter fan, these film adaptions are above par. 

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9. Ghostbusters:  

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! This is one of those smash hit movies that combines the comedic charms of Billy Murray and Dan Aykroyd with spookiness perfectly. Who can forget the Stay Puft Mashmallow Man rampaging through the streets of New York?! The theme songs never gets old either.  

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10. Arsenic And Old Lace:   

This Frank Capra Classic is quite a zany and silly one, but one that I watch every single year. Cary Grant stars as Mortimer Brewster who finds out his cooky old aunts are a bit insane. Needless to say, halarity ensues as we unravel just how crazy the whole family may be. Raymond Massey and Peter Lorre also give great performances as a  Borris Karloff look a like and his plastic surgeon doctor. Cary Grant always felt his performance was over the top, but honestly, while very silly, that’s what the part called for! It’s a fun little comedy that will make you smile.

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Honorable Mention

Dead Poets Society:

Have you ever had a teacher that inspired you and even changed your life? I’ve had a few college professors that inspired me emensly to the point I could to listen to them talk for hours. This movie, starring Robin Williams as professor John Keating, takes place at an all-boys prep school where he encourages his students to think outside of the box. To pursue their dreams and seize the day. It’s an inspiring and uplifting film, with some sad tones, but a remarkable ending. 

Pictures: 

The Trouble With Harry: madduckposters.com

Psycho: sky.com

The Birds: amazon.con

When Harry Met Sally: dealflicks.com

Belle, Book, And Candle: IMDb.com

Sleepy Hallow: imdb.com

Harry Potter And The Sorcerers Stone: grapevineticketline.com

Ghostbusters: tvtroopes.com

Murder By Death: Amazon.com

Dead Poets Society: masculinitymovies.com

xo, Amanda  

Ava’s Garden

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Good morning and a very happy Friday, friends! This post has been three months in the making and I couldn’t wait to share it with everyone. This year, my dad and I finally got the garden back into shape that my late husband and I had started when we were married. It was something we both loved to work on, though back in the day we had only grown vegetables. We loved seeing the veggies grow and then use them in our cooking and salads. This year, I decided to use half of the garden for flowers and the other half for vegetables. 

Ava was excited with the mention of getting the garden going and then being able to watch all of her hard work come to fruition. She helped my dad and I plant all of the initial flowers and vegetables and then would help me water them each night. In July, Ava decorated a Peppa Pig stone we found at Target and placed in the garden on the vegetable side. Her first harvest came towards the end of July with some kale, squash, and a pepper. About one week ago, all of the wild flowers we planted were finally ready to be cut and put into vases. Her second harvest was just yesterday. 

 Having a garden is a fantastic idea if you have kids. It teaches them the rewards of hard work and also gets them outdoors. It’s pretty much a win-win situation for everyone involved! Each time I use one of the vegetables from the garden, I make sure to tell Ava that she grew it. That all of her hard work paid off. She loves to look at the flowers in their vases and say, “oh they’re so pretty” when she sees them. 

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend! Cheers!!  

xo, Amanda  

Classic Summer Movies

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Good morning everyone and happy Monday! I hope all of the dads out there enjoyed their Father’s Day weekend!   

With summer in full swing, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at the top 10 movies I always watch in the good ole summertime. Most of them do take place in the summer and they’re all classics. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many more movies that are essentially summer based like Grease,  National Lampoons Summer Vacation, American Graffiti, or The Sandlot, but I don’t watch them over and over year after year, though they should be watched! They’re all anazing classics. Below is the list of my favorite classic movies that I make point to watch each summer and sometimes throughout the whole year! 

1. Rear Window

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This is one of my most favorite movies of all time. It’s no surprise it’s a Hitchcock movie. I’ve always been fascinated by this movie in the dead heat of summer in New York City. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve watched this movie, especially with my mom. She was always my movie buddy. Grace Kelly is absolutely stunning and at the height of her career here. My senior prom dress was inspired by her white gown in this movie. I also love that Jimmy Stewart is a photographer and the majority of the movie takes place in one room while looking out or “people watching” his neighbors. 

“A newspaper photographer with a broken leg passes time recuperating by observing his neighbors through his window. He sees what he believes to be a murder, and decides to solve the crime himself. With the help of his nurse and girlfriend, he tries to catch the murderer without being killed himself.” -google.com 

2. Gidget 

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This was always the one movie I tried to catch on TCM each year. It would always be in the summer and I can remember all of the beautiful light shining into my parents house with the windows and door open to let the fresh summer air in. While some might think the Beach Party movies with Frankie Avalon are the essential summer flick, Gidget was the one for me. It’s such a cute film taking place on the sunny beaches of California. Sandra Dee is adorable and James Darren is pretty cute to look at too. 

“Diminutive teenager Francie Lawrence (Sandra Dee) has a bunch of boy-crazy friends, but she could care less about boys. That is, until she goes to the beach one day and meets surfer Jeffrey "Moondoggie" Matthews (James Darren) and his friends, including Burt "The Big Kahuna" Vail (Cliff Robertson). Now, Francie, whom the boys call "Gidget" -- short for girl midget -- wants to learn how to surf, so she buys a used board and dives into the sunny world of Southern California surfing fever.” -google.com

3. The Burbs 

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I remember first seeing this movie as a kid and being instantly hooked. It’s been an all time favorite of mine since then. I watch it multiple times throughout the year. I watched it last week! It’s another “people watching” movie involving neighbors similar to the idea of Rear Window. The whole cast comes together perfectly to produce some amazing results. It’s great to see Carrie Fisher in this and the trio of Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, and Rick Ducommun are so funny to watch. 

 “Settling in for some time off in his suburban home, Ray Peterson's (Tom Hanks) vacation becomes a horror when the Klopeks, a suspiciously odd family, move in down the block. Enlisting the aid of his paranoid buddy, Art (Rick Ducommun), and his militia-man neighbor, Rumsfield (Bruce Dern), Ray sends his son and wife (Carrie Fisher) away on a trip while he investigates the Klopeks. When a neighbor disappears, Ray and his cohorts risk their lives to save their cul-de-sac from the clutches of evil.” -google.com

4. The Seven Year Itch 

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 I have been a huge Marilyn fan for quite some time now with this being one of my top favorites of hers. My other two favorites are Niagra and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She has always been one of the most beautiful women in the world to me. Interestingly enough, my brother actually introduced me to her. This was always one movie I would put on to have going in the background while I would work on homework or be writing a paper. There’s something just really comforting about this movie. It’s funny and cute and Marilyn is beyond beautiful. Of course, there is the famous skirt scene, though you don’t see much. 

“In the midst of a summer heat wave, New Yorker Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) ships his wife, Helen (Evelyn Keyes), and their son off to Maine for vacation. Left alone to work back in Manhattan, Richard encounters a gorgeous blonde model (Marilyn Monroe) who has moved into the apartment upstairs, and becomes immediately infatuated. While pondering infidelity, Richard dreams of his beautiful new neighbor -- but will his fantasies about her become a reality?” -google.com

5. To Catch A Theif  

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Another Hitchcock movie starring Grace Kelly, only this time the leading man is Cary Grant. ~Swoon~ He is my favorite actor and magic always happens when Hitch directs either one of them. This was one of my mom’s favorite movies of all time. She loved the fireworks scene. My junior prom dress was inspired by the gold dress Grace Kelly wears to the costume party. There is much to be dazzled by between the two leading actors and the stunning French Riviera. 

“Notorious cat burglar John Robie (Cary Grant) has long since retired to tend vineyards on the French Riviera. When a series of robberies is committed in his style, John must clear his name. Armed with a list of people who own the most expensive jewels currently in the area, John begins following the first owner, young Francie (Grace Kelly). When her jewels are stolen, Francie suspects John, destroying their tentative romance. John goes on the lam to catch the thief and clear his own name.” -google.com

6. The Long, Long Trailer  

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I actually just watched this one last night! The two stars alone make this movie quite a gem. If you’re fans of the television classic I Love Lucy, this is an absolute must see. It’s nice to see Lucy and Desi in color and to also hear Lucy’s actual singing voice. This is not a musical, but there is one scene where they kind of hum/sing a quick song while driving and it’s one of my favorite scenes in the whole movie. They look so relaxed and happy while driving through some gorgeous scenery. 

 “Nicholas Collini (Desi Arnaz) has to travel for his job as an engineer -- so his fiancée, Tacy (Lucille Ball), suggests that rather than buy a house after their wedding, they invest in a motor home so they can see the country together. But the aggravations of life with nosy trailer park neighbors and the dangers of piloting an enormous trailer across narrow country roads soon take their toll on the happy couple, putting their young marriage in turmoil.” -google.com

 

7. The Ghost And Mr. Chicken  

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This is an all time favorite movie with my family. We all love it! My family loves The Andy Griffith show so we’ve always been fans of Don Knotts. Who doesn’t love Barney Fife?!? I love the hometown feel of this movie and the “spookyness” of it. “And they used Bon Ami!!” This movie could be considered a good one for Fall as well with the ghost theme, but I’ve always considered it more of a summer movie. In all honesty, I watch it multiple times throughout the whole year. The idea for this movie actually came from an episode of The Andy Griffith Show called “Haunted House.” Andy also helped with writing script. 

“Looking to score a break as a newspaper reporter and impress beautiful Alma Parker (Joan Staley), milquetoast typesetter Luther Heggs (Don Knotts) pitches a story about his small town's haunted house. When his editor (Dick Sargent) insists Luther spend a night alone in the spooky mansion, where a grisly murder-suicide had taken place decades earlier, the timid reporter learns that the house contains a supernatural resident who doesn't like visitors.” -google.com 

8. Jaws  

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This is the quintessential summer blockbuster movie where you’re going to need a bigger boat. Bonus points, this was filmed in Cape Cod near Marga’s vineyard and Falmouth! One of the most iconic two music notes in movie history. 

“When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town. Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engage in an epic battle of man vs. nature.” -google.com 

9. Send Me No Flowers  

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There are three films where Rock Hudson and Dorris Day teamed up together including this one, which was the last of the trio. The others include “Pillow Talk” and “Lover Come Back.” This one has always been my favorite though since it shows them in their everyday married life and all the halirty that follows. Tony Randall really steals the show here and also stars with them in the other two movies. 

 “After eavesdropping on his doctors as they discuss another patient, George (Rock Hudson), a middle-aged hypochondriac, leaves a hospital visit believing he's terminally ill. Assuming he'll soon be dead, George enlists his friend, Arnold (Tony Randall), to help him find a new husband for his wife, Judy (Doris Day). They eventually settle on Bert (Clint Walker), a successful businessman. But George's odd behavior makes Judy suspect he's covering up an affair.” -google.com 

10. Dirty Dancing  

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No one puts baby in a corner! Enough said. That lift scene at the end and the romance that blossoms during dancing lessons will make anyone swoon in the summer heat. 

 “Baby (Jennifer Grey) is one listless summer away from the Peace Corps. Hoping to enjoy her youth while it lasts, she's disappointed when her summer plans deposit her at a sleepy resort in the Catskills with her parents. Her luck turns around, however, when the resort's dance instructor, Johnny (Patrick Swayze), enlists Baby as his new partner, and the two fall in love. Baby's father forbids her from seeing Johnny, but she's determined to help him perform the last big dance of the summer.” -google.com


Photo Credits:  

1. IMDb.com 2. Wikipedia.com 3. Alchetron.com 4. Riotheater.com 5. Cromeyellow.com 6. Soundtrackcollector.com 7. Amazon.com 8. Jawswiki.com 9. Amazon.com 10. Amazon.com 

xo, Amanda  

Easter Weekend

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A very happy Easter Monday, friends! I hope everyone had a joyous Easter weekend. He is risen, alleluia!! I wanted to share some of my favorite parts from this past holiday weekend. We started with an Easter egg hunt in the backyard and then dyed some eggs, which we later decorated some of Ava’s favorite characters. My dad’s birthday was this past Tuesday, happy birthday dad!, so we celebrated his birthday along with the holiday. Easter Sunday started with church, then a hunt for some baskets the bunny left for Ava, followed by a lunch that I hosted. We lucked out with kind of spring like weather so some walks were also included. It’s wonderul to breathe in the fresh air! It actually snowed last night. It looks a little more like Christmas than Easter right now, but hopefully the couple of inches will melt quickly. I hope everyone has a great start to your week! 

 

                            xo, Amanda  

Mommy & Me Valentine’s Day

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Sequin Tulle Dress c/o || Ava’s Velvet Dress || Jackie Kennedy Pearl Earrings || Jackie Kennedy Cascade Ring || Stella & Dot Brier Ring || Stella & Dot Engraved Ring ||

Good morning and happy February 1st! It is officially the month of love and what better way to kick it off than with a little Galentine’s Day Party. Just the “gals” here hence, Galentine’s lol. Ava and I spent the better part of a day celebrating and having our yearly party. We started with putting on our makeup and then getting dressed up. Ava picked out her own accessories and was very excited the whole time. The anticipation of it all! This has always been my favorite post to do throughout the entire year and one I always look forward to. Then we set the table together and lastly baked the cookies. She helped spread the icing and sprinkle on the sprinkles, all while enjoying eating some in the process, haha. Ava kept saying it was a tea party and honestly, we’ve been having little tea parties every day since then. Every meal happens at the dining table so why not make it pretty and fun?! After taking some photos, we dug in to all of the goodies and had some girl chats talking about the things we love. The heart ballon has a nice little story behind it. We were out the day before picking up the roses for the party, when a worker at the store just fell in love with Ava. He ended up cutting this ballon down from one of the displays and giving it to her, which was incredibly sweet! Thank you! This was one of the best days I’ve had and couldn't have spent it with a better gal than my little Ava. Cheers to all of the loved ones in your life! <3

xo, Amanda  

Personal Highlights From 2017

The last day of 2017, I still cannot believe it! 2017 had quite a few beautiful memories for me that I wanted to highlight below. Thank you again to everyone for following along on this journey with me! I hope you enjoy and cheers to a happy and healthy 2018!!  

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Mother’s Day. Ava and I dressed up in matching pink tulle outfits! This was so special and the day was beyond beautiful. Everyone was commenting on how cute we were dressed alike at the restaurant we went to. 

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Ava becoming a little fashionista! This past year Ava has absolutely fallen in love with my dressing room and playing with all things girly!  

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Easter weekend. Jesus has risen. The weather finally was turning a corner and a little bunny visited our home and left some treats!  

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Spent my dad’s birthday down with the cherry blossoms. What a magical time of the year. 

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Taking walks in the park and handing out flowers. This photo melts my heart. Ava lovesss flowers. She’ll go pick them and then hand them out or just continue to smell them haha. 

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Trips to Knoebels. This year Ava actually rode some rides. A fun time for all! That smile.  

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Spending my 29th birthday at the JFK 100 birthday celebration. This was a BIG one for me. JFK and I share the same birthday, which is beyond cool. Ava also has Obama’s birthday! The cake was sooooo good. 

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Our annual trip to Cape Cod was a memorable one since it was Ava’s first visit!  

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Getting to ride on Thomas the Tank. This was amazingly cool. Thomas looks absolutely real! I was blown away. We also got to visit with our family while we were there. They’re the best, I love you guys! 

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The dedication of the JFK statue in Pittston, PA. My shirt was a hit!  

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Our last year enjoying all the fun Belle brought to our lives.  

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Ava’s first time to the Luzerne County Fair. She loved this tractor and was pretty good at working it too!  

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My little shutter bug. She goes to grab my camera all the time now. Maybe she’ll love photography too someday.  

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Halloween! Ava dressed up as Peppa Pig. All of the little kids loved her costume. I kept hearing, mommy mommy, there’s Peppa Pig!  

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Ava and I on a photo shoot. This was one of my favorites with her. We dressed in matching colors and went to the park. We always have a blast on location! 

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Watching the night sky and the space crafts that zoom up above. 

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Valley Forge. My favorite spot in PA, especially in the fall. The word spectacular comes to mind when describing the foliage there.  

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Matchy matchy. We’re a family that likes to match together haha.  

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Christmas! Yay! The most wonderful time of the year. We packed so much into this Christmas season between decorating, singing carols, baking cookies, light rides, reading Christmas stories, watching Christmas movies, catching snow  flakes on our tongues, going to tree lightings, visiting with family and friends....the list goes on! My favorite part of Christmas is actually going to church on Christmas Eve and singing Silent Night by candle lite.  

 

xo, Amanda  

Our Christmas Song List

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My Christmas PJ’s (Old) || Ava’s Rudolph PJ’s || Classic Vintage Style Turntable || 

Good morning and happy Thursday, friends! This was such a fun post to put together. Christmas songs are one of the most magical and fun parts of the Christmas season. You only get to listen to them for a short while, though I know some people who listen to them throughout the year, haha. Ava and I listen to them everyday whether we’re at home or in the car, Christmas music is always playing. I created a list that are some of our most favorite Christmas songs. The list would be a mile long if I included all of them! There are the stand by classics, some newer editions, and maybe even some you may not have heard before. We all know Jingle Bells, but have you heard Sinatra’s version? It’s so much fun and the best there is! If you need some Christmas cheer, look no further than We Need A Little Christmas sung by Angela Landsbury, an instant mood lifter! I hope everyone enjoys.

  • Jingle Bells- Frank Sinatra
  • White Christmas- Bing Crosby
  • Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer- Burl Ives
  • Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow- Dean Martin
  • Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays- *NSYNC
  • The Christmas Song- Nat King Cole 
  • All I Want For Christmas Is You- Mariah Carey
  • The Christmas Waltz- Frank Sinatra
  • Carol Of The Bells-Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  • We Need A Little Christmas- Angela Landsbury  
  • Winter Wonderland- Johnny Mathis
  • It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas- Michael Buble
  • Baby It’s Cold Outside- Dean Martin
  • Rockin Around The Christmas Tree- Brenda Lee
  • The First Noel- Frank Sinatra
  • The Little Drummer Boy/ Peace On Earth- Bing Crosby and David Bowie
  • The Littlest Angel- Bing Crosby
  • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town-  Michael Buble
  • The 12 Pains Of Christmas- Bob Rivers
  • Cool Yule- Louis Armstrong
  • A Marshmallow World- Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin
  • Frosty The Snowman- Jimmy Durante  

Jingle Bells- Frank Sinatra  

White Christmas- Bing Crosby

Also including this duet of White Christmas  with Michael Bublé and Bing Crosby- The technology is amazing! 

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer- Burl Ives

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow- Dean Martin  

Marry Christmas, Happy Holidays- *NSYNC

The Christmas Song- Nat King Cole

All I Want For Christmas Is You- Mariah Carey

The Christmas Waltz- Frank Sinatra  

Carol Of The Bells- Trans-Siberian Orchestra  

We Need A Little Christmas- Angela Landsbury

Winter Wonderland- Johnny Mathis

It’s Beginning To Look A lot Like Christmas- Michael Bublé  

Baby It’s Cold Outside- Dean Martin

Rockin Around The Christmas Tree- Brenda Lee

The First Noel- Frank Sinatra

The Little Drummer Boy/ Peace On Earth- Bing Crosby And David Bowie

The Littlest Angel- Bing Crosby 

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town- Michael Bublé  

12 Pains Of Christmas- Bob Rivers  

Cool Yule- Louis Armstrong

A Marshmallow World- Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin  

Frosty The Snowman- Jimmy Durante

Pretty Picnic

Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance
Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance
Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance
Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance
Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance
Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance
Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance
Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance
Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance
Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance
Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance
Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance
Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance
Pretty Picnic- Enchanting Elegance

Striped Seersucker Dress || Pink Slides || Sun Hat || Wicker Bag || Humble Chic Olive Branch Earrings c/o || Jackie Kennedy Unity Band || Jackie Kennedy Emerald Unity Ring || Rose Gold Love Bangle || Welly Merck Watch c/o || Picnic Basket ||

Good morning and happy Friday!! Last Friday I took my family out for a little picnic in one of my favorite parks. The weather was amazing, sunny with highs in the 80s. It literally felt like summer, we were all sweating haha. We enjoyed fresh fruit and some desserts while playing ball and watching Ava chase squirrels around. The timing could not have been more perfect to pull out this pink seersucker dress. I've always been a big fan of wearing seersucker in the summer. I actually used to own this blue seersucker shirt that I wore non-stop back when I was in high school. The dress runs true to size, I'm wearing a 00 for reference. There is also a built in bra with an internal zipper to help keep the dress up. It's actually quite genius and works well. The off the shoulder ties add the most darling detail to an already chic ensemble. This truly is the dress of the season! Wonderful for weddings, showers, brunch with the girls, beach bashes and more!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Shop The Post:

Vellabox

Vellabox- Enchanting Elegance
Vellabox- Enchanting Elegance
Vellabox- Enchanting Elegance
Vellabox- Enchanting Elegance
Vellabox- Enchanting Elegance
Vellabox- Enchanting Elegance
Vellabox- Enchanting Elegance
Vellabox- Enchanting Elegance
Vellabox- Enchanting Elegance
Vellabox- Enchanting Elegance

Let me start off by saying that my house smelled absolutely amazing when I was photographing these candles. Candles are always something I like to use when I want to unwind at night or to make my home feel inviting and cozy. I'm always going through tons of candles too since I burn them whenever I'm working, reading, taking a bath, or having company over. When I heard about Vallabox, I was intrigued by the fact you could subscribe or gift someone artisan candles and have them delivered to your doorstep each month. How fabulous that you would never run out of having a candle on hand whenever you need it!? Being able to gift a subscription is lovely as well, especially during this holiday season. A beautifully well made candle is something we would all love to have, but not necessarily buy for ourselves. Giving the gift of joy and warmth each month to a special someone is so heartwarming.

The idea for Vellabox came about when Adam, the owner and co-founder, saw that everyone loved getting his candles as gifts during the holidays or special events such as weddings and house warming parties. The candles could be enjoyed for long periods of time and bring happiness, light, and warmth into their surroundings. Being able to send someone this joy every month, with so little effort, led to the creation of Vellabox.

Vellabox is running a Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal beginning late Thursday night into Monday with the code GIVETHANKS15. This allows you to get $5 off your first subscription or gift subscription.

I'll be including Vellabox in my gift guides coming up as well. I'm in love with this company and their idea of providing light into our homes and hopefully, in turn, lighting up our lives. Stay tuned for some more Black Friday deals coming your way!

xo, Amanda

M. Michel Illustration

M. Michael Illustration- Enchanting Elegance

Happy Thursday lovelies! I don't know about you, but this week is just flying by for me. I'm thinking that wonderful three day weekend has something to do with it. If only every weekend could be like that!

Today I wanted to share a fabulous fashion and lifestyle illustrator Mayandree Michel of M. Michel Illustration. She recently created this beautiful fashion portrait of me from one of my most favorite outfits that I wore for Easter. It's a bit hard to tell, but I was five months pregnant at the time with little Ava. She's now making more of an appearance with the bump. I had the best time talking with Mayandree through the entire creative process and I could not be more thrilled with the results! As soon as I saw the completed art, I smiled so wide and instantly showed my husband and dad who thought the illustration was so beautifully done. The attention to details and coloring is spot on. I cannot stop looking at how lovely her artwork is and feel so honored to have found not only a beautiful illustrator, but also someone who is kind and sweet to work with.

Please take a look at some of Mayandree's other designs and custom illustrations here at her Etsy shop. Let me tell you too, for any other bloggers reading this, having a custom illustration done in one of your favorite outfits is an absolute must. It's something you can hang in your home and also have on your blog.

You can also reach M. Michel Illustration on facebook, on her Instragram, or on twitter.

M. Michael Illustration- Enchanting Elegance

Thank you to M. Michel Illustration for sponsoring this post.

Here are some more chic designs by M. Michel Illustration that I'm totally loving.

M. Michel Illustration- Enchanting Elegance

High Tea

tea set

Happy Wednesday loves! As usual, Wednesday is always devoted to inspiration and today I chose High Tea for the theme. One of my favorite memories is having tea with my mom while we watched Murder She Wrote or just chatted about life. Also, while on vacation in Rehoboth Beach, we would always go for high tea at the Plaza Hotel. She absolutely adored it. Everything is available to shop with the links above.

Chocolate Scotcheroos

A Delectable Dessert

chocolate scotcheroos

If you're looking for a yummy dessert to serve, look no further. Chocolate Scotcheroos were made at many family functions over the years; mainly by my aunt Arlene and grandma. These decadent treats please the taste buds with creamy peanut butter and a topping of butterscotch and chocolate morsels. My mouth waters just thinking about them! When I asked Justin what he wanted for our anniversary he said scotcheroos. Always a crowd pleaser and quite simple to make, these little bars should be a staple in everyone's recipe book.

chocolate scotcheroos

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup (Karo)
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup butterscotch morsels
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies


Directions:

  1. Combine sugar and syrup in a large saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in peanut butter, mix well. Add Rice Krispies, stir until well blended. press mixture into 13x9" pan.
  3. Mix chocolate and butterscotch morsels together over hot, but not boiling water, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat, spread evenly over Rice Krispie mixture..
  4. Cool until firm and cut into bars.


chocolate scotcheroos

Good Reads

Fall 2014 Edition

fall reading

There's nothing like curling up with a good book once the weather starts to cool. I always seem to gravitate towards mystery novels once Autumn hits and maybe that's due to the mystery that starts to fill the air with the days getting shorter, nights getting longer, and Halloween right around the corner. I love to snuggle under a blanket with a nice cup of tea and loose myself into an imaginary world. Without further ado, here is my Fall 2014 reading list.

 

 

  1. Girl Three by Tracy March. This was recommended to me by my relative and with good reason. It's a murder mystery set in Washington D.C. with political agendas, romance, betrayal, and the unraveling of secrets. Seems like a page turner to me and one that I cannot wait to read. The author wrote the book in a condo that was owned by my relatives and one that I had to pleasure of actually staying in. Pretty cool if you ask me.

  2. The Night Circus by Eric Morgenstern. A spell casting novel about a circus that magically appears out of thin air and brings with it all of the excitement and unique experiences a circus can offer. Behind the scenes, within the circus, a competition of imagination and will is going on, one that could destroy the circus, performers, and patron alike.

  3. How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, Sophie Mas. A how to book by four French women on everything from how they dress, entertain, have fun, and attempt to behave themselves. I don't know about you, but anything Parisian gets my vote!

  4. The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson. A true story of how the Chicago Worlds Fair came to be and all that went on around it. An intertwining story of a serial murderer who used the 1893 fair to lure his victims to their death.

  5. Station Eleven by Emily St. Jon Mandel. A spellbinding story about a group of nomad actors, a Hollywood star and his soon to be savior, set in the eerie days of civilizations collapse, roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

  6. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. The story of a New York boy who survives a car accident that kills his mother. Tormented by her death, he clings to a painting that reminds him of her, and one that ultimately draws him into the underworld of art. As an adult, he owns an antique store, finds himself to be alienated and in love, and at the center of a dangerous circle.

fall reading

What are some books you're currently reading or ones you're looking forward to?

Good Reads

Summer Edition

Summer time reading

I always have a beautiful vision of relaxing in the summer sun with a warm breeze blowing, the birds chirping, and a cool beverage in my one hand with a fascinating book in my other. Whether in my backyard, by the sea, or poolside, a summer read should give the opportunity to sit back and relax for a little while.  I always  find myself becoming busier during the warmer months, so knowing I can have a few moments to take a breather and become immersed into another world seems to good to resist.

Some books on my reading list are as follows:

  • These Few Precious Days by Christopher Andrews. This book tells of the final year of John and Jackie Kennedy before the assassination occurred. Being the huge Kennedy fan that I am, this climbed to the top of my list as a must read. Rare, behind-the-scenes moments, detailing their tender and complex love story like never seen before.
  • Marilyn Monroe The Finals Years by Keith Badman. Detailing the last two years of her life, while setting the record straight on all of the rumors that continue to surround America's biggest movie star there ever was.
  • Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro. A group of 30 somethings meet at a beach house over a summer weekend. This book was named one of the "30 must reads of 2014" by the Huffington Post. Sounds good to me!
  • Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn. I've been wanting to read this for a while after hearing so many good things about it. Especially now that the book is set to hit theaters towards the end of the year, I want to read up on it before actually seeing the movie.
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Book number two in the Divergent series, this sequel picks up with Tris who must continue to fight for the ones she loves and deal with the oncoming war ahead. After seeing the movie "Divergent" in theaters, I instantly liked the story and knew this series would become something big similar to The Hunger Games.
Summer time reading

Simple Pleasures

Tea Time and Macarons

Tea time and macarons

Mornings have always been one of my favorite times of the day. The fresh new clean feeling, the endless amount of possibilities that could occur, and the grateful sense of knowing I have made it another day. One morning activity I quite adore is to sit back, while after having my breakfast, to take a moment to enjoy a simple pleasure of mine, tea and macaron cookies. Albeit, this is not an everyday occurrence, but that makes it more special when it does. These little darlings became popular in France and soon made their way state side. While I cannot get the little cookie locally, only bigger cities seem to have them in Pennsylvania, I treasure the ones I do have the chance to acquire. Light and airy with either a creme or jelly center, macarons have become a new favorite of mine, not to mention how pretty they look! I also like to get my little sweet treat out of the way in the morning so I have the rest of the day to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to make up for it. Remember, moderation is key.

tea time and macarons

Beauty All Around

amandabrezovsky.com
amandabrezovsky.com
amandabrezovsky.com
amandabrezovsky.com
amandabrezovsky.com

One of the biggest complaints I hear when dealing with photography is there is nothing to shoot. Not so! Simply go outside into the backyard or nearby area to capture the scenery around you. The simpleness of a single flower can make a huge impact in a photo. People just walk by them everyday and do not realize the beauty they possess or how intriguing they can be. All of these photos were recently captured around my property. The photo of the lake at sunset was taken about 15 minutes from my house. An easier step to remember when shooting flowers is to try and get the background blurred out for that quality impact shot. Basically, you want to keep the aperture wide open and depending on your lens, that could be at a 1.8 to a 5.6. Then zoom in on the flower, pick a focus point, and voila, you're on your way to capturing all the beauty around you. On a side note, the rhododendron blooms were taken just after it had rained outside. The tiny water droplets really add depth to the image. Some people like to take a water spritzer with them to add water into the photograph and while I've never done this myself, it without question will give the photo that something extra special. All in all, open your eyes to see the world around you. Anything from a dandelion, flower, bird feeder, leaf, insect, bumblebee, bird, rocks, or a new perspective or angle can widen your horizons when photographing. 

amandabrezovsky.com

Simple Pleasures

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

simplepleasures    amandabrezovsky.com

When it comes to dessert time, that signals all sorts of warning bells in my head. Basically, how bad the sweet treat can be for my body and health. One thing I have learned though, like most things in life, is moderation is key. I always watch the sugar content in all types of foods be it the appetizer, main course, or dessert, due to the toll it takes on the body. Sugar can literally make you look older, yikes! Cutting sweets completely out of the diet would be ideal, but as I have learned in the past, cravings can come on strong and take over, leading to an eventual dessert fest of all sorts. To keep the cravings at bay moderation comes into play. Either make healthy comprises like swapping milk chocolate out for healthy 70% dark chocolate, which is filled with flavanoids and becomes more like fiber at 70%, or treat yourself to one dessert a week so as not to completely limit yourself, but also keeping the sugar at bay. This way, you can have your cake and eat it too, the best of both worlds being had.

Finding that balance can be tricky, but simply takes some planning and good decision making. Instead of bleached flour, buy whole wheat flour, and instead of white rice, try the ever healthy quinoa. I've used whole wheat flour and quinoa in many of my recipes for cooking and baking, and they come out fantastic. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips from the vending machine, try to pack an apple instead or bring some berries and almonds to munch on. Having that one dessert at the end on the week, or whenever you prefer, will not seem so bad after all of the healthy choices being made. Not only that, but it gives you something to look forward to, a nice reward for all of your hard work!


Blooming Blossoms

The Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival 2014

The arrival of Spring brings a renewed hope in life from the warmer weather, bountiful sunshine, and life "springing" up from all around. The grass and trees start to get greener, the newborn animals play, and the flowers begin to bloom bringing splendid color and fragrances with them.  I look forward to the Cherry Blossom Festival, not only visit one of the greatest cities, but mainly to experience and capture the beauty of the blossoming trees as they bring forth a wondrous feeling of awe.

Weather wise, the sun shined at high capacity and the temperature reached a max of 80 degrees. Absolutely perfect for walking around and taking pictures of the beauteous blossoms. My friend Mike, who lives in Maryland, invited my husband and I down for the weekend so we could all visit D.C. Finding shaded areas with the blossoms proved to provide the best results picture wise. We all had a fabulous time and hope to get there next year! Without further ado, here are some photos from the trip!

cherryblossom1
cherryblossom2
cherryblossom3
cherryblossom4
cherryblossom5
cherryblossom6
cherryblossom7
cherryblossom7
cherryblossom8

Good Reads

Magical Transport

Books are a uniquely portable magic.
— Stephen King

Some days are just meant to be spent inside curled up under a warm blanket, drinking a cup of hot tea, and being transported into another world. On a day such as this, rainy and cold outside, a book becomes a fantastic device to envision a whole new outlook. Books let the imagination flourish and enhances the ability to create, to learn, and to be mindful of the beauty surrounding life.

rainyday

I'm never very far from a good book, whether located on my night stand, kindle app, bookshelf, or coffee table, one can always be within my reach. Many of my favorite lean towards the category of biography. John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra to name a few, but I also devour books that can take me to an enchanted world that simply does not exist in the "real" world. Ideas of magical wizards, vampires, Gatsby-esque figures and fairy princess's bring out the dreamer within me. Also, a good mystery novel, such as Sherlock Holmes, always excites my adventurous and inquisitive side. Whatever your preference may be, I find it important to read as much as possible, to not only educate ones self, but to also keep the imagination alive.

Currently reading: Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy