my life in my words

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I Ain’t Ready To Quit

Happy Sunny Seattle Day To You!


Oh beautiful, for spacious skies! The sun is out; the window is out; the the mountain is out . . . and soon, I’ll be out! Whoo hoo!


What happens when you get 4 hyperactive creatives together in a room? This. This is a glimpse into our Publications Staff meeting at the ‘Ol 9-to-5. For reference, L— is my boss, K— is one of my co-workers, and T— is our newest co-worker, who shares the part-time role with me:


L—: Amanda is drinking Goji Berry tea!

K—: Well she’s absolutely beautiful.

L—: Of course she is! But I mentioned it because we’re growing Goji berries in our garden right?

K—: Oh yes, I believe so, if the weather stays good we’ll be growing them, anyway. But just look at her, she’s absolutely gorgeous. I love that color she’s wearing.

Me: Thank you. *blushing*


meetin’ and a greetin’


L—: Okay, so coming up on our to-do list is the F— Manual, the F—  Teaching Guide, the Guidelines, a French pamphlet, and our next journal issue.

K—: My mind just went topsy turvy. I’m going to have to write that down.

L—: Ooooh! Maybe we can make a song out of it—like SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS!

*We all give blank stares*


Ready to play an impromptu game of wiffle football at our desks! Oh the things creatives do! ; p


L—: Well, editing is coming along very slowly.

K—: Why?

L—: Because I’m tired and the articles are poorly written!

Me: Well, you know, we could always just take some articles from the last issue, put them in this issue, just change up the layout and see if anyone notices.

L—: (laughs) That’s a perfect idea! I doubt anyone would send in e-mails about corrections.

K—: We could make up our own e-mails about corrections and put them in the issue!

Me: We could also put in ads to sell off things we don’t need here in the office. Like old magazines and stuff.

K—: I have a used toaster! We could put an ad out for that! It could say, “Get yours today because it wouldn’t sell on Craigslist!

L—: Yes! Now all we need is a good cover! Something with skulls and crossbones!

T—: Well we do have that one photo that was sent in of some skulls in a cave.

L—: Perfect! Now we just need a chipper quote to go along with it.

K—: Or we could put in a really terrible drawing on the cover instead!

Me: Don’t we still have that dancing cat photo?


Well, well, well. It seems that our guest already knows the drill for our staff meetings! ; p


L—: I feel really embarrassed about my drawings.

K—: Yeah, we’ve heard this before.

L—: (laughs) Well you can only have so many flower drawings in an issue and that’s all I’ve been drawing lately.

T—: What about cats? I like when you draw your cats.

L—: Well, I only know how to draw one cat. I just draw it a lot.

Me: You could give it cow spots to change things up!

K—: Yeah, or plaid! You could make a Plaid Cat!

Me: Or a cape! A caped cat would be awesome!

L—: Nice! See, now you’re making me want to draw lots of things with capes! I could do that.

Me: Like a pencil with a cape!

L—: (laughing) Yes! I can just see him flying around now!

Me: Ha! And now I want to draw a pencil flying around in a cape.

L—: Oh please do it! Do it now before the idea escapes.



Ohhhhhkayyyy . . . you asked for it! ;)

Ohhhhhkayyyy . . . you asked for it! 😉

There is seriously never a dull moment around here!

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Believe In What You Want

There is something so refreshing and empowering about putting your God-given talents and passions to good use. Even more exhilarating is the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom that takes you from simply being interested in a hobby to honing a craft. As a creative, limits are a distant concept. Cady Heron portrayed it best when she said, “The limit does not exist.“* We see something and analyze it, tear it apart, re-imagine it, and add our own flair. We don’t always have all the answers, but we’re not afraid to do whatever it takes to search for them. It’s not unusual to find us in a coffee shop or library studying typography and design strategy while our friends are hitting the bars or checking out the local sports scene. We’ll get there and join in the fun, but first—we must nurture our craft. It is essentially “our baby.” Nothing excites me quite like the news that others in my circle of friends are interested in pursuing the creative arts. So when I was informed that one of my youth group students was doing just that, in a big way, I couldn’t help but hop aboard Cloud 9!




A— is one of the students I get the opportunity to hang out with on Sunday mornings at Westside. She is incredibly sweet, gentle, and imaginative. Her passion for animation and other creative arts shines through every drawing she shows me. I have no doubt that she’ll grow to revolutionize the industry with her talent, focus, and passion to give life to the images in her mind. While many students will be heading off to Soccer, Bible, or Cheerleading Camp this year, A— wants to attend the 2-week Web Design Camp at DigiPen University, where she’ll spend quality time in classes that will teach her basics of web design, encompassing a broad range of other creative arts. Her goal is to utilize creative arts in her future career and DigiPen will be able to efficiently equip her with the knowledge, hands-on-training, and creative community she’ll need to get a head start on that. However, much like anything worth pursuing, it comes with a hefty price tag. The cost of attending DigiPen is far more than what a typical sports or church camp would cost. Her desire to attend has no limits either, so she has taken it upon herself to use her talents for a fundraiser that will help offset the cost. She’s calling it CARDS 4 CAMP.


All cards come with a similar-colored handmade construction paper envelope . . . but you can also get a one-of-a-kind handmade envelope to go with your the one-of-a-kind card! These cards are made from fancier papers and upcycled materials such as old art projects, calendars, and homework! It gives a touch of whimsy appropriate for a Mother's Day card!

All cards come with a similar-colored handmade construction paper envelope . . . but you can also get a one-of-a-kind handmade envelope to go with your the one-of-a-kind card! These cards are made from fancier papers and upcycled materials such as old art projects, calendars, and homework! It gives a touch of whimsy appropriate for a Mother’s Day card!


She has created four original designs of cards that can be used for this upcoming Mother’s Day, as well as other celebrations. If you’re scrambling around for that last-minute card or would like to buy extras to stock up on, while supporting a worthy cause, here’s what you need to know:

For the price of a Hallmark card (or less), you can own or gift an
original work of art by an up-and-coming young artist AND help send her
to web design camp at DigiPen University!

Prices are as follows:

$4 Card and Matching Plain Envelope
$2 Fancy Envelope
$5 Card plus Fancy Envelope (You save $1!!)

Cards can be purchased directly from us or by emailing us at
(Note, cardstock colors and card design will vary. Each card is signed by the artist!)

Here’s a closer look at her beautiful fine art:


Most importantly, she enjoyed using her talents to create these cards. Art is very important to her, and she enjoys expressing herself that way! Although there are four designs that grace the cards, the inside is blank, and each card is a little bit different. Colors and card design will vary, making each card unique. You’ll have your own special work of art!



This card was designed in a graphics program by A—. The photo is courtesy of her little sister. A small ‘royalty’ of sales for this card will be given to her accordingly.


This design is typical of her drawing style. She enjoys drawing manga and comics. This card is great for Mother’s Day, but could be used in another way, such as a mother’s birthday.


This was her first design. | I think it’s easy to see why this one’s my fave 😉 Coffee, anyone?!?

These photos depicting the four seasons were used by permission, but also altered sufficiently as to not plagiarize. The sentiment “Thank you for being there through every season of my life” is perfect for Mother’s Day, yet could be used for other special people in your life on other occasions. A “just-because” card for a best friend, a thank-you card for a memory, or your great-grandparents anniversary.


Whether you are a fellow creative or not, I hope that you are able to see what a great endeavor this is, especially for a young person growing up in a society that teaches apathy and satisfaction with achieving the bare minimum. She is making some wonderful choices for her future and I hope that you’ll consider joining her in the journey!


* Oh you *KNOW* it wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t find some way to work in a Mean Girls quote. 😉


Celebrating the annual Easter Reunion from a distance . . . in a coffee shop (naturally) ;p

Celebrating the annual Easter Reunion from a distance . . . in a coffee shop (naturally) ;p


Our family and extended family gets together every year for an annual Easter Reunion where we barbecue, have an egg hunt, and smash cascarones down peoples’ pants until the day is done! Now, one thing you should know about our family is that we are a rowdy bunch and we make ourselves KNOWN everywhere we go! So naturally, we gotta represent at these reunions and one of the ways we do that is by wearing shirts to show off our family. For the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to design our family reunion T-shirt. This year I got to do it again and had so much fun playing around with the design. When my Auntie “O” sent me the design request e-mail, her idea was this:


This is the thought that is coming across for this year’s shirt. Two Coconut trees with Mamo on one and Papo on the other. Nuts in the tree could be the Kids, John, Josie, Olga, etc. and on the ground under the trees could be the rest of us “nuts.”

I knew immediately that I was going to have fun with this one! One of the things you have to think about as a designer is how your design can loan itself to the atmosphere of the event and the personality of the people you are designing for. Luckily for me, my family has a great sense of humor—you CANNOT spend more than 5 minutes with my family without cracking up at something that someone says/does—it’s awesome! So I took that idea that coconut trees were associated with the water, and the fact that we spend each Reunion at the beach. I think you know where it went from there 😉


That’s right, I went there. 😉

In the initial design, I decided to put the parents along the rope line, under the two big coconuts that represented my grandparents. Then, I wanted us grandkids to kinda be piled on top of each other because we’re very close. I thought it would be super cute to make the cuzzo cubs into starfish because they’re so playful and their personalities stand out so boldly. The sweetest part for me was adding the two seagulls flying above our family. They represent two of our family members that have died and are watching over us from Heaven.

After this initial design, I sent it off and awaited the critiques and changes. I know it sounds crazy and a bit masochistic, but I LOVE critiques. I think my worst nightmare would be for someone to say, “Hey that looks great, let’s go with it!” and deep down inside, they’re saying, “Y’know, it’s an okay design, but it’s not my favorite and I probably won’t want to keep it in eyesight of others cause it’s not that great.” Nightmare city for sure! I love critiques, especially from friends and family because it helps me grow and become better, allowing me to see things from a different perspective so that I can create something we’re all proud of. So I welcome and look forward to the process of making edits to my designs. The e-mail I got back after the initial design said:

Fallon’s sons name is Elijah. Can you make the 2013 a bit darker – as I need the screen to be able to pick it up, since it will all be a one ink print.

Right on! Let’s try this again . . .


We’re getting there . . .

Hey, I went by the tshirt guy tonight & he loved your design. He did ask that we make a few changes though so that the printing would be a bit crisper.

On the coconuts, we need to take the gray shading off  &  just leave it white. It is just a 1 color screen & the color will be black and the shading might mess up how the names look. Also is there a way to make the starfish a bit bigger and stack them, since they will be bigger?

The names are so small inside the starfish that when it prints they will barely be seen, if they are seen at all. If we make the starfish bigger, made me wonder if we needed to make the coconuts bigger so the starfish dont overplay the coconuts?? He also asked if the title could be a thicker or bigger fonts so that it would catch one’s eye. If not, then that will be fine.

You got it!



Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Squirrels, we have a WINNER!

This was the final design that left both camps happy as a clam! I was so excited to be able to work with my Auntie “O” again to make a shirt that everyone could be proud of. Now comes the kicker . . . when I say we like to make ourselves known, I mean it. Folks, our shirts this year are theme park friendly and kinda takes me back to island life . . . so fresh and so Kiwi Greeeeeen! 😀 I love it!


If it’s one thing that makes me happy, it’s bright colors . . . which is weird because when I was younger, I only wore blacks and grays and HATED bright colors. Nowadays, I love sporting hot pink, electric blue, highlighter yellow, and the like. And now, I get to add a fun addition to the collection! You can imagine just how happy it made me to get my shirt in the mail on Thursday:

Thanks for shipping my shirt to me, Auntie "O"!

Thanks for shipping my shirt to me, Auntie “O”!

I am more than proud to sport my shirt today (and tomorrow afternoon) in solidarity with my family as they are at the family reunion all day today. I’m even more excited because tomorrow, I get to make cascarones with the kids in our Children’s Ministry  . . . and I’m probably gonna make some extras to crack on some heads after church!


Better Than I Used To Be | Happy New Year’s 2013!

What could be better than ringing in the New Year with your best friend?



3 peas in a pod 😀

Ringing it in with REAL Texas BBQ . . . and my favorite coffee (Stumptown Hair Bender) for New Year’s Day breakfast! 😉


My NYE party platter | Nothing says Happy New Year like real Texas BBQ! Viva la 2013!


Look, it’s the way the world should be, okay! hahahaha. If you read/watched yesterday’s blog post, you’ll know that I have some exciting news to share with you regarding my health update and what my new word for the year is. Well, don’t think for a minute that I forgot! Here it is, ENJOY!



My new word for 2013!

My new word for 2013


One way I’m going to start is with the one thing the majority of us tend to focus on during the New Year—food resolutions. (Judge me all you want—this is about renewing my body and my health.) These past few weeks have been crammed with emotional eating . . . cookies, pies, gingerbread men, candy, ice cream, fatty foods, and more. But I’m taking a tip from a nutrition blog I follow and I’m personally making this JUNK-FREE JANUARY. That’s right, back to my healthy eating habits I go. You know why? I’ve DISCOVERED over the past few days, that my body actually hates that junk. I’ve been walking around for the past few days with sugar-cramps, bloating, and nausea. It’s no bueno. So it’s back to freshness! And although in the past year, I let the comments of many around me dictate what I eat or don’t eat and how I exercise or don’t, this year is different. This year is about making wise choices for MYSELF and letting others deal with their own choices and attitudes. I’ll admit, the 2 weeks in the hospital took away a lot of poundage and now that I’m packing them back on, it’s going to be a bit easier to maintain, but I’m not putting junk back in my body just “because I can.” And that goes for more than just food. It goes for activities, habits, certain relationships, mindsets, and more.





Another way I’m going to start the cycle of RENEWAL is by following my therapist’s advice. I am going to start knitting! :O She wants me to start knitting so that I can learn to be okay with being imperfect. You see, perfection is something I struggle with A LOT! The past 31 years of my life have trained me to focus on striving for “perfection” when I really need to focus on being “good enough.” So my super creative therapist suggested I take up knitting, and since I trust her and feel compelled to dare to try something new, I’m going to do it! So be on the lookout for some new posts this year featuring some of my best and worst attempts 😉



Gettin' down to the Knitty Gritty

Gettin’ down to the Knitty Gritty


There are a lot of things I want to do this year, but more importantly, there are a lot of things I want to BE this year. This is a year of RENEWAL. To slow down; To breathe deep; To trust; To put things back where they belong; To embrace True Love; To surrender; To dare greatly; To look in AND up; To throw out the old and knit the new in every aspect of my life. I only hope you’ll stick around with me as we journey through this new year of life, striving to be “good enough” human beings!

Happy New Year, y’all!



One Happy Amo wishing you an awesome sauce 2013!

. . . and now I’m off to enjoy some Black-Eyed Peas, greens, and The Dark Knight Rises! 😉 


I’ve Got Plenty To Be Thankful For

Yesterday, my ICU room was invaded by the BEST ELVES EVER!!!


It all started when Kristi Lyn came over with some festive Thanksgiving pumpkin decorations, because she knows how much I LOVE PUMPKIN!!!!  ♥


Kristi Lyn decking the window with Holiday Cheer and Melanie working on some sweet festive Coloring Page Wall Art!


And then the fun continued when my friend Heather stopped by and brought me some fine dinner to rescue me from hospital food! 


Deeeeelishus Dinner and a Story, courtesy of my Wing Girl Bestie, Heather!!! | Pumpkin soup + mashed sweet potatoes + asparagus soufflé + Greek yogurt w blueberries + pumpkin tea! & Wookie The Chew ♥


And then my friend Grace came over to visit me and right around the time she showed up, Heather had bust out her box of Christmas decorations to deck the halls of my room! Something you should know is that I LOVE Christmas! It reminds me of all the warmth, love, and joy of family and time spent with family, so it’s a HUGE comfort to me to listen to Christmas music and watch Christmas movies. So you can imagine what it did for my heart and spirits when I woke up in my very own ICU Winter Wonderland!! ♥ 


Deck The Halls Divas

My winter wonderland welcome mat!

Happy Falli-Days even happen in Amo’s Baño!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 😀

I even bring along the Holiday cheer when I go for walks! Check out my blingin’ IV ornament

Let’s walk in a Winter Wonderland!

A Very Merry Window


All the nurses and CNAs agree that I have the best decorated room in the ICU 😉


And nothing says Happy Fall-idays like enjoying breakfast with some DAVIDStea in a Christmas Space Invaders mug!

Organic Banana Dream Pie tea? Yes, please and THANK YOU!!


Also, sweet Christmas treasures like these . . . 

It is ridiculously hard to resist the urge to lick my arm when I put that lotion on 😉


I am BEYOND thankful for incredible friends that help make my stay in the hospital more manageable, cheery, and comforting!! 😀


The best part of waking up is having a new non-hospital blanket (in my favorite color) to snuggle with!! Thank you so much for the super soft and warm luxury, Grace!!

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Closer To Love

Don’t tell anyone I told you, but I think Santa got a little confused and Christmas came early!


I really am blessed to have incredible co-workers at both of the jobs that I work at. However, the two jobs are not created equal, especially when it comes to co-worker interpersonal dynamics. On one hand, I have really cool and friendly co-workers at my ‘ol 9-to-5. On the other hand, I have really cool friends who just so happen to be my co-workers at Westside. They know me and my little quirks and personality more than those at my ‘ol 9-to-5. For example, my boss at Westside takes me out for coffee and mentors me in all things ministry, leadership, discipleship, and innovation. He knows when I’m stressed and what to say to motivate me to push past my ruts. My boss at my ‘ol 9-to5 doesn’t drink coffee, much less take me out for it, nor does she know much about my personal life except the things I’ve shared with her in our passing conversations and morning meetings. Still, she is a mega-encourager and great at sharing her wealth of health/nutrition knowledge and insight on writing, editing, and the publications process with me so that my brain stays engaged in my role. As you can see, both jobs benefit me just as much as I benefit them and I’m so pleased with how that all works out!

There is a common thread between both sets of co-workers and it is one that humbles my heart to no end. I am incredibly blessed to get to work with some of the most thoughtful and selfless givers on the planet! Over the course of my time at my ‘ol 9-to-5, I’ve been given so many wonderful treasures: new music, chocolates, jewelry, fresh organic foods to take home, cards, art supplies, and the list goes on. Taking on the second part-time job at Westside, I wasn’t expecting anything from anyone in the way of inter-office gifts. To be quite honest, I just don’t expect them from any place at any time in general. I guess that’s what makes them extra special to me. All that to say . . .this past Sunday was made extra special by a couple of my close friends that I work with at Westside!


My incredibly talented co-worker, Glenda, whom I lovingly refer to as “G-Mama,” sewed me up a SUPER rad gym tote! I mean, here’s Glenda, this beautiful administrative assistant who handles all of our behind-the-scenes business work, who basically mothers our staff while maintaining her own family, and still finds time and energy to use her God-given talents to give to others! She makes me feel at ease in the new working environment and helps me think through the details as I try to focus my “big picture” mind. Not only is she a tender-hearted woman of faith, but she’s a HARD WORKER who raises chickens and builds things Bob Villa style! Color me jealous!! I remember in a conversation I had with her that I mentioned how much I LOVE the shade of Tiffany blue. And so last Sunday, after a long and overwhelming morning, she took time out to give me this perfect gym tote!

I adore everything about it. It’s the right color and style for me. And I really like that the outside is classy and the inside is fun polka-dots! I mean, I may not be the classiest dame out there, but I think this bag captures my personality very well! It’s able to hold my gym clothes, snacks, plus odds & ends for full functionality . . . and . . .

It’s even got two separated pockets to hold my shoes!!!!


Thank you SO much, Glenda!! My heart thanks you in so many ways!! (As do my muscles) 😉


The second blessing I got this past Sunday was from my pastor’s wife, Deb. Deb is one of those extraordinary mothers that you can glean a vast knowledge of creative and effective parenting just from spending 5 minutes around her. Not only is she a creative + practical + wise  and caring mother of 4 (plus an exchange student) + wife, but she’s also our Children’s Pastor, MOPS Director, Women’s Ministry leader, and the gracious host of our Biggest Loser nights! You would think her mind would be so focused on balancing those plates alone while trying to maintain sanity, but no, it’s CONSTANTLY thinking of others. She is big on celebrations and making sure that people know how much they matter. So I’m not sure why I was so surprised that she would share the love with me, but still I was. As I walked into my office on Sunday to sit down to work on service administrative follow-up tasks and make some important phone calls, I was greeted by a bright and beautiful goodie bag!

All of a sudden, my frown turned UPSIDE DOWN! How FUN is that gift presentation?!?

Me gusta!

She wrote me the sweetest note inside this rad card! Does she know me or does she know me?? Pssst…. Don’t tell her, but I like her a latte too 😉


And after my heart melted from the sweet words in the card, I dug deeper into the bag to fish out my prize. And what, to my wandering eyes did appear???





I can’t believe I scored this total geek girl awesome sauce!

She said that she remembered seeing me pin something similar, so when she saw this, she knew she had to get it for me. I’m very much looking forward to cooking even more now that I have this rad new apron to wear! I have a feeling my meals are going to be SUPER tasty from here on out.*


AND it gives me one more reason to sport my Wonder Woman socks!!! Awww yuh!!


Thank you SO much, Deb, for making my life (and meals) full of fun and Wonder! 


*Okay, okay, I know that was a bad one.  

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I mean, I *guess* you could say I *kinda* like apples…

How ’bout dem apples?? 😉 My boss brought those in from her apple tree and they are SUPER yum! I kinda feel like a hoarder though . . . even though she said take as many as you want and there are still a bunch left!

But even more than that, I love APPLES TO APPLES!!

Especially when I get to spend the evening playing it
with a bunch of my closest friends!

Sharing life and love is just my kinda thing. Whether it’s getting together to hang out and play games, or if it’s one-on-one lunch dates

Enjoying company picnics with my rad co-workers

Or days spent cleaning and organizing my workspace with my best friend

Enjoying quality time and home-cooked meals with my friends and their kiddos

Potluck nights with my awesome Community Group

Cruisin’ the streets and having lunch with my best friend’s mom

Embracing my awkwardness and lack of hand-eye-coordination with my Zumba buddy

Catch-up Coffee Dates with friends I haven’t seen in what seems FOREVER

or celebrating Birthdays of incredible ladies
that inspire me to live my life to the fullest!

There are just way too many reasons to celebrate life and those that are a part of it!

Another thing I love is getting treasures in my mailbox. And a few days ago, I got some mailbox treasures that will help me celebrate others for a nice long time!!

I came home to a package from one of my favorite crafters, PLAIN JANE’S CARDS!

Jane Grizzle is an incredibly creative and crafty lady. She makes beautiful cards, of which I’m a HUGE fan! They’re simple, clean, fun, and festive—which is just my style!

I had recently participated in a giveaway she was hosting on her blog and I WON!!!

“What was the prize??” you might be asking. Well, let me tell you . . . nay, let me SHOW you!


I’m so excited to have won these lovely cards because there are so many people in my life I want to share these with!
Thanks, Jane!!

And now, for a little celebratory tune up on this here blog!

Go ahead, get up, shake them hips, do a little dance, and CELEBRATE LIFE!