A few (or all) of my favorite things…

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I have become increasingly black and white in my likes and dislikes as I get older. Set in my ways more I guess. One such area has been my closet. A few months back I realized there were certain outfits I could wear everyday because I felt like myself but cooler… The outfits you wear and feel super confident and people tell you how great you look. I kinda realized all these outfits had a similar look and I decided to basically turn it into my go to uniform. When in doubt I grab great skinny jeans, a cute tee, some layering piece (a cardi, blazer, scarf) and a fun shoe. Pictured above are a few of my very favorite go to pieces in each category. I can be a picky bitch so I’m optimistic you will like them as much as I do ;)

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Skinny jean: I feel like a really standard well fitted skinny jean does not go in or out of style. My rule of thumb is if Audrey Hepburn wore it you’re good. My current favorite pair are these from L’Agence. The style is called the Margot and they are perfect because they are cropped to the ankle and a higher rise. They are also super soft and stretchy but still thick. They are my most comfortable jean. They can easily be dressed up or down and therefore come in super handy. Wear them with sneakers, ballet flats, a bootie or pumps. All around comfy and useful.

Proenza PS1: This is my favorite bag… It is not my newest bag or my bag in the best shape but it is truly my favorite. It is the perfect size and manages to not be too heavy. I love that it doesn’t have tons of logos or brand recogition but is very high quality and well made. I think the PS1 is a classic and was a really good investment as it just looks better with wear.

V-neck: This Monrow v-neck t-shirt is the best! The v is low but not too low. The length is perfect and so is the sleeve. They are also soft and comfy (comfort is a theme here). They are also effortless and cool. The price point for a t-shirt might seem a little high but I can assure you that your cost per wear is going to be very low because this will become your new favorite t-shirt very quickly.

Slip-on sneakers: These vans are iconic and cool. Need I say more??

Leopard cardigan: I love a cardi. Specifically a J. Crew cardigan that I wore so much my friend commented on an insta pic, “long live that cardi” to make fun of my love affair with it. I’m a 90′s kid so something about a librarian/grandpa cardigan just speaks to me. The leopard takes away some of the grunge factor but mixing it with patterns adds to the fun. The sweater I’m wearing in my photo is this one from target and can be yours for the bargain price of $16! The J. Crew version won’t put you back all that much more but it’s hard to beat $16…

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peace, love and sticking to the basics -
Amanda

Cozy Easy Quick

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Weekday meals can be challenging… You’ve worked (I’m assuming), you’re tired (at least I am) and cooking something requiring too much effort is not happening. I love to cook and eating healthy meals is important to me. Therefore, I have a few simple healthy weekday meals I thought I could share on the blog! I actually ate this tonight for dinner and I can assure you it was filling and yummy! Enjoy :)

Ingredients -

2 cans black beans (or bonus points if they come in a cardboard carton, nobody likes bpa except for maybe the bpa makers)
2 cups of veggie stock – I use organic Trader Joe’s
2 plum tomatoes diced
1 large/2 medium cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
cilantro
five dashes of Worcestershire sauce
sour cream
avocado
brown rice

Method -

So, first things first heat a heavy bottom pot on medium heat and coat the bottom with your 2 tablespoons of olive oil. While this warms mince your garlic. Add garlic to warm pan but just heat for a minute — you never want to brown your garlic, that means it will turn bitter and yuck. Add your two cans of black beans and your two cups of veggie stock. Ok it should be looking like soup!

Grab some cilantro leaves and roughly chop – throw those suckers in your soup. Carefully dice your plum tomatoes and add those as well. The soup is now becoming more colorful and subsequently more appealing (I hope). Add some dashes of Worcestershire sauce if you have on hand and like that flavor. Clearly I do. Cover this and just let it do it’s thing while you do whatever it is you like to do to relax. I sat on my sofa and stared into space… I was tired today.

Depending on how hungry you are is how long you are going to leave this on the stove. I let it simmer away for about 15-20 minutes because I was pretty hungry. A solid 30 would be nice for the flavors to come together but it will be good after 15 I promise. Once you ladle the soup into a bowl add some brown rice — ok you have choices here. You can: prepare brown rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge, make quick boil in bag rice or in my infinite laziness (I already told you I stared off into space so I’m thinking this will come as no surprise) just used Trader Joe’s microwavable brown rice. It’s organic and good and I’m ok with it. I then add some diced avocado, sprinkled some more cilantro on top and some sour cream. I also added some hot sauce because why not. And that’s a wrap! Quick, easy and moderately healthy! This will actually be better the next day so split the remainder into glass tupperware and bring to work to avoid the dreaded sad desk lunch.

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do!

peace, love and don’t burn the freaking garlic –
Amanda

Girl Gang

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A couple months ago Alexis, the other half of a golden sparrow, took one of our charms and looped it onto a piece of vegan suede cord. The result was this cute little double wrapped choker that I could not wait to wear myself. Once I started wearing mine people also started asking me if they could order them too. And thus these cute little chokers were born. Thanks Alexis… They are only $55, gold vermeil and totally cruelty free as they are hung from vegan suede cording! We have our four basic charm styles so pick whichever speaks to you. I also started wearing mine tied around my wrist and the vegan cord holds up perfectly in the shower. Surprise surprise! Here are a couple pics we took while putting together a little look book for these beauties.

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Here we are looking significantly more badass than we actually are. The beauty of wardrobing…

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There I am wearing a gown with combat boots in a the middle of a field… Because if not now then when?…

These chokers will be up on the website over the weekend and clearly I am a fan. We will be adding additional charms over the course of the month so check out the website for all that newness when you think of it. Clearly these are cute for you but I recommend buying them for someone in your girl gang and spreading the love.

peace, love and rolling with the homies –
Amanda

If you’r only buying two… Sunglasses

I love sunglasses. A lot. I tell myself it is because I have sensitive eyes so I actually need them. Maybe this is so but it is also because I want them… However, if you aren’t as sunglasses obsessed and looking for a couple practical styles to get you through all year long here you have it. I selected these two super classic styles because a classic won’t ever go “out” and is pretty universally flattering on most everyone.

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Style one and two are Ray Ban Wayfarers and classic aviators. We start here because Ray Bans are effortlessly cool, a middle of the road price point and they basically invented both styles. So they come first. Picking a black and brown pair to interchange based on your outfits gives you flexibility and will keep you looking put together most days. These are well made and will last for years and years. I picked the 54mm extra large wayfarer style for this post because when it comes to sunglasses I feel bigger is generally better.

Next up some pricey loftier versions. If you are looking for something a little more luxe we have option three and four. Tom Ford is kind of the master of a black cat eye style and the one pictured above has a lot of classic wayfarer qualities. The aviator is by Oliver Peoples and I love it because they are just well made without a lot of labels to signify the flashiness. They are understated but lovely.

Now, if you tend to lose sunglasses or can’t be bothered spending a lot styles five and six from Old Navy and Gap respectively will get the job done but still be totally stylish. Because both of these are classics it is easy to get them at a more reasonable price and these versions really highlight that point! If you are going on a boat or in the water where the salt water could damage your shades, picking an affordable option is the way to go.

By choosing classic basics at whatever price makes you and your wallet happy you can get a lot of wear and use from your shades and feel totally polished and put together in the process!

xoxo – Amanda

Sorta Fresh and Sorta Clean… (dry shampoo – a love story)

I have the winning combination of an oily scalp and dry ends (thanks bleach). I have naturally oilier hair and from coloring my hair and applying heat the ends can be on the dry side. Subsequently washing my hair everyday is really not an option. For one it would exacerbate the dryness and for two my hair is long and I am lazy. Therefore I have a long standing desire to find the very best dry shampoo and minimize my time blowing out my tresses. I submit for your approval my holy grail of dry shampoo products that I think are universally pretty awesome. No washing and repeating necessary…

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First up R & Co. Death Valley dry shampoo in a spray. I was actually given this by Keela my hair colorist. I find the spray dry shampoo to not last very long so I never saw a point in purchasing a more expensive brand. That is not the case with this little wonder. The can lasts forever so it makes the price point sting a little less. On top of that you are really paying for what you are getting. The smell is great and the product does what it needs to do. Best of all it doesn’t leave an aggressive white residue to be brushed out. The product is subtle but works. Win and win. You can purchase Death Valley here.

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Next in the spray variety of dry shampoo we have my previous favorite Dove Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo. This is a super good price point so when it runs out quickly you don’t feel totally ripped off. Or at least I didn’t. The smell is fine and it works almost too well. My friend said after using it a couple times her hair almost felt like she’d never need to wash it again. I’m not sure she meant that in a good way. But hey, it works. I buy it here when I’m buy 100 other things I don’t need.

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So powder products… I am blonde so these are fine by me. I’m sure if you have dark hair these don’t work as well so for that I am sorry. But for my light haired friends these are the powdered products I love. I actually prefer to use a powder variety as I think it is more environmentally friendly. It is also purse friendly as they last forever so your cost per use remains very low. At a little higher price point I really like the Bumble & Bumble Pret-a-Powder. It comes in a large and small version so I can keep the little one in my bag for hair emergencies (or when I ran out of time and have to do it in the work bathroom). The smell is faint and falls into the whatever category but the product is very oil absorbing and even though it is a powder it isn’t super white so you won’t look like George Washington. Unless of course that’s your thing. Different strokes and all that. Check it out here.

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Last but not least… My very favorite dry shampoo ever is Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk. This little French wonder is not super expensive, comes in a large amount that lasts forever and the smell isn’t trying to hard (I’m talking to you DryBar dry shampoo). This is just a great product at a great price! It also comes in a spray but it last two weeks for me so I’d rather go with the powder in this case. You can purchase Klorane here.

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So there you have it! I’ve tried countless brands and I think most of you can find one you like from the four mentioned above. There’s one for every budget and hair type. So go to Sephora get some samples and invest in a shower cap. Your hair will thank you I promise!!

Peace, love and still taking showers -
Amanda

Getting Unstuck

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I know I struggle with stuckness pretty frequently… It can be difficult to find the wherewithal to get yourself moving and shaking. There’s a Sanskrit word, samskara, which basically speaks to our patterns or conditioning. When we are in these patterns but know it isn’t in our best interests how do we break out? They say knowing is half the battle. That may be true, but I think the real war is waged in the field of doing. It is not enough to know we need to change or do better. We must be warriors and slay these behaviors that no longer serve us. Here are some helpful suggestions of how.

Call bullshit – our minds can be rascals and we tend to believe our own excuses. I think identifying the lie we are telling ourselves is key. So, if you are trying to break the habit of not exercising for example and your mind keeps telling yourself why you can’t do it maybe try suspending that belief. When I don’t want to work out and I know it is my samskara that is bringing me down I just start the workout and tell myself if I can’t get through it I will just stop and at least I tried. I have to date not not made it through a workout based on whatever excuse I had given myself. So call bullshit on yourself and see how often you would have been holding yourself back had you believed that limiting voice.

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Shake it up – We tend to have break throughs when we have a new experience or do something out of the ordinary. We realize we are greater than we are when we have these kinds of moments. So, I suggest if you are feeling really stuck take a weekend trip with yourself somewhere you have never been. Or take a weekend staycation and do things you have never done. Try something really out of your comfort zone with the intention that you are breaking old stale patterns. Then harness that energy from that positive experience and take note of some of the areas you need improving. And then keep that momentum going by seeing suggestion one.

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Forgive and move on – If you feel angry at yourself or others for whatever it is in your life that is not working the way you would like it will do you no good to fester in that energy. That energy of blame and shame simply cannot help you. Positivity and empowerment can. Realize things need to change and keep it moving. Forgiving and believing in yourself is powerful and necessary. If you have “disappointed” yourself in the past just remind yourself that if you fall down eight times you get up nine. No great story exists of a hero that didn’t make mistakes. Nobody looks up to those that things have come to without any effort. You will treasure what you can do once you have put your mind to it. Your victory is in your hands, just do what you need to do to grab it.

And while your at it check out the Oprah and Deepak Getting Unstuck Mediation Experience here. I’m pretty sure a little meditation never hurt anyone. And it’s on sale. Win win.

20121104-sss-deepak-chopra-5-949x534peace, love and moving right along -
Amanda

mala memory moment

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Someone recently asked us for some mala necklace/bracelet pictures and I took a little stroll down memory lane. We have made a lot of pieces over the years but it pretty much started with the mala necklace. Like most businesses we began because we could not find tassel necklaces that we actually liked and decided to make our own.

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Pictured above is one of our very first pieces we made. It makes me happy. And also makes me want to borrow that dress from Alexis…

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We generally make the tassels by hand and string every bead ourselves. They are made with a lot of love (or if the tassel won’t stay a tiny bit of frustration). I still wear the above mala all the time and still get compliments on it even though the tassels are a bit dingy from wear and love.

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But like anything the imperfections just add to the character. If you want to order a mala please contact us at orders@agoldensparrow.com You can tell us the color tassel and bead you like and we will ship it out to you in no time! Have a beautiful rest of your weekend!

peace, love and imperfections -
Amanda

Moving to Michigan

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Ok, not really. Well at least I don’t currently have any plans on moving there. But I guess you never know. However, Michelle Adams amazing Michigan home is making me consider it. Her style is clean and modern in the most homey and cozy way. Such a perfect combination. I love her mix of classic and unexpected. The perfect way to make a house really feel like it’s yours. Authenticity in design, like in life, is always the best policy.

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I am a sucker for stacks and stacks of books. It such a great way to add your personality to your home and surround yourself by what you love. There’s a quote I can’t think of about books being like old friends. And I agree. I love her use of black white and blue. Not a very common pairing and I love it. I also love a classic wing back chair paired with a more modern light fixture shown in the above photo. So totally perfect.

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That mantel, that sofa, that coffee table. All such different styles and periods so seamlessly paired together. Good job Michelle.

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Like Paris, little topiaries are always a good idea. Especially on a kitchen windowsill. I’m typically not a fan of open kitchen shelving as I think it lacks practicality and in real life looks a mess. However I believe that Michelle keeps it this organized and pretty all the time…

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And just when I thought I was over ikat print… I saw this duvet cover and I’m not. I love black walls. These look like a textured wallpaper which really gives this bedroom a cocoon like feeling. Super cozy. Also notice the bedside lamp pairing. They are literally opposites. So cool.

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I am about this over sized black and white photo along with the touches of leopard. There are the benches at the foot of the bed as well as a leopard lamp not pictured in this photo on the nightstand. Love.

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And a cozy little reading nook with a pink chair. I mean I could literally just move in here and not want to change a thing…

You can check out the entire home tour here along with shop some of the items from her home from her collab with One King’s Lane. It is all totally perfect, effortless and cool. What a combo…

I hope this home tour gave you some design inspo for your own home and got you thinking of ways you could pair unexpected items for yourself!

peace, love and of course that totally goes together -
Amanda

Perfectly Polished in Pink

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Much to my constant push back I am a pink person. I teeter towards Elle Woods maybe a little more than I would like. That said you can only avoid your natural tendencies so much. I just love a pink manicure, especially in the summer. I searched high and low for the most flattering hue and stalked the internet at one point for the shade Giada De Laurentis wears on her cooking show. It’s OPI bubble bath btw. I have currently been rotating between three colors this summer and thought I could share them with you. As fall approaches (how was it already July 4th???) I tend to gravitate toward more grey hues, but for now these are my current favs.

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OPI Mod About You is a very neutral creamy pink white. It reminds me of Bubble Bath but with a little more denseness of color which I prefer. It is very understated which makes it perfect for traveling when you need to match a bunch of different things! I’m wearing it above with a pair of previously mentioned yoga pants from this blog. Check out this OPI shade here.

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Lauren B Beauty City of Angels a very opaque pink. It is a lot like Essie Fiji but for me less chalky and wears much better. Fiji for me tends to go a little yellow and I don’t find it very flattering. This however is the right amount of shine and matte combo and wears great. If you pair this with her topcoat you will get a good week out of your manicure. It’s a great way to give your nails a break from gel polish but still have lasting power. Find her line of glorious polishes here.

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And the winner is… For absolute best and prettiest pink is OPI Let’s Be Friends! From their Hello Kitty Collection duh. But seriously though this is the very best pink around. It’s like City of Angels and Mod About You had a baby. A very pretty white pink that is neutral enough but also makes a little statement. I’m wearing it above and holding the Lauren B beauty top coat to show you guys. You can purchase the topcoat here. Also pictured is my calligraphy homework in the background. I’m trying to teach myself… More on that another time. Anyway you can get Let’s Be Friends! here and I promise the compliments will be rolling in!

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Pictured above are two Chanel colors I’m wanting to try. They look like they would be super flattering. Chanel tends to chip really quickly so I wanted to try it with the Lauren B top coat and see how it fairs… I’ll keep you posted!

That’s it for now! Let me know your favorite colors so I can add them to the polishes I want to try! Have a beautiful and happy weekend.

peace, love and the power of pink –
Amanda

Sparkle & Shine

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“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Feeling thankful to live in this wonderful country and to every man and woman that serves and protects us.

peace, love and thanks –
Amanda