coming up for air

It’s been awhile. And I’ve started this post probably nineteen times in the last 3 weeks but never have a moment to finish it. 

Momma’s been struggling a little. Maybe it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder (what a bitch these short days are), maybe it’s the season in itself when my family remembers all the loved ones we’ve lost in the past around this time, and maybe it’s just the stress of the holidays. 

Either way, I’ve been feeling like I’m drowning a lot. The kids have been a handful. Like significantly more than usual. Cora literally has me banging my head against the wall on a daily basis. Dexter is so happy, but so ornery and so curious. Mark has been busy. And honestly, I don’t feel like I’m getting out of the house enough or getting enough time to myself. But then when I have it I feel like shit. 

Mom guilt, mom guilt, mom guilt. You evil bitch. 

I didn’t make any New Years resolutions this year and I don’t have a word or phrase that I’m focusing on for the year. I just want to stick to what I said back in November and take care of myself. That’s it. And I’ve been saying that for so long but it’s so hard. I am awful at waiting until I feel like I’m drowning, having a breakdown, and demanding a break instead of slipping in breaks when I can. I need to not feel guilty about it. I have to remind myself constantly (no really ALL THE DAMN TIME) that I’m taking care of a family but I’m the only one who takes care of me, so it’s okay to put myself first every now and then. This will include getting on some meds. I’m a better mom when I feel like a person and not a shell of a person who does nothing but clean and change diapers all day. I deserve happiness, hobbies, and things that are for me. (I posted about this on instagram the other day and was sadly shocked at how many other moms struggle with finding something for themselves.) 

The kids didn’t go to Mothers Day Out today because #snowday, but their naps collided just enough for me to take a bath. (Ignore my toes that haven’t been painted in forever.) There are dirty dishes in the sink and our living room looks like a toy tornado plowed through it. There’s laundry waiting for me in the dryer and I badly need to go through our bathroom drawers and get rid of shit. But right now I’m going to fill my cup a little while I have a few fleeting moments to do so. 

P.S. I would love to find time to write and post more. I need to make that a priority. 

– amanda 

the quenzer den: cora’s room

(Y’all I totally forgot to turn down the ISO before I took these, so ignore the graininess and general quality. haha.)

This girl loves. her. room. We take her up for her nap every day and she spends anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour playing. She loves her big girl bed and her tent!


Dresser :: IKEA (Tarva line, discontinued, painted by Mark)
Bed :: IKEA
Rug :: Target (not sure if it’s still available)
Chair :: BabiesRUs
Quilt on chair :: Love Gretta
Toy shelf :: IKEA (discontinued)
Tent :: Amazon

If you’d like to know where we got anything that wasn’t listed, let me know! I’ll probably share our bedroom and bathroom next week. 🙂

– amanda

2016 winter capsule wardrobe

For this capsule I let go of the “I have to have color in my wardrobe, right?” feeling and just added what I loved.

It all happened to be black, white, grey, camel, and olive. *shrug*

I’m coming to terms with the fact that I prefer a neutral palette for my wardrobe. I like pops of color in accessories (hello pink shoes!) and makeup. I feel like I can layer more efficiently with all neutrals, and I LOVE layering. I seriously have endless options for this capsule and I’ve already built so many outfits in the Stylebook app!


If you’d like to know where I got anything, let me know!

– amanda

the quenzer den: dexter’s room

Now that we’ve been settled into the new house for a little over a year, I thought it would be fun to do a little house tour with a different room or two each week. I’m starting with Dexter’s room because it’s the most finished and easiest to clean. haha


I saw this wall color here many moons ago and absolutely fell in love with it, so I knew I wanted it in Dex’s room! The color is Dark Pewter by Benjamin Moore and either looks charcoal grey, navy blue, or dark teal depending on the light. His room has the best natural light in the whole house, so I felt it was safe to try out a dark color. No regrets. 😉

So many nights spent in this corner. So. Many. Nights. Also this chair is incredible but I cannot for the LIFE OF ME remember where we got it. Whoops.


I intended on getting a cool moon phase garland to hang on the shelf but you can see that never happened.


My brother got these decals for us last Christmas. They’re so perfect!


My sweet friend Gretchen made this quilt for Dex and I love it so much. Cora has two quilts that she made and they’re well-loved! ❤

Here are the specs on his room:

Wall color :: Benjamin Moore “Dark Pewter”
Crib :: IKEA ($79.99 and it’s lasted through both kids…can I get an amen? We stained ours!)
Rug :: Overstock
Bookshelf :: IKEA
Dresser :: IKEA (it was the Tarva line, stained and painted by Mark, but they no longer make them.. boo)
Planet quilt :: Spearmint Love
Quilt :: Love Gretta

Hoping to get Cora’s room shared next week, if I can keep it semi-clean long enough to snap some photos. 😉

– amanda

feeling things

I always wished I had some kind of cool “I’ve loved photography my entire life!” story like every other photographer, but the truth is.. I just awkwardly stumbled into it. (I seem to awkwardly stumble into a lot of things in my life. Hello, my name is Amanda, and my whole life is one big awkward stumble.) The fact that it blossomed into a business that helped shape who I am was nothing short of a miracle, guys. I will say, however, that the first five years or so I absolutely LOVED it. I worked my ass off, but I truly enjoyed taking and editing photos.

After that five year mark, it somehow started feeling more like work and less like fun. I worked constantly and started to grow bitter. I stuck it through, but by year seven I was D-O-N-E. I stopped scouting new locations, I stopped trying new poses, I did the same editing on every photo, and I just genuinely stopped trying.

When we found out we were expecting Dexter I knew I wanted to quit photography and just be a mom for awhile. (Spoiler: being a mom is way harder. hahaha.) I even sold my camera because A) I was tired of looking at it, and B) I couldn’t be coerced by friends/family to take photos for them. (This still happens, by the way.)

For a solid year I was totally fine using just my iPhone for photos. They weren’t always perfect but I’m just photographing my kids, so it’s not like the quality of camera would erase the Koolaid stains off my kid’s face.

I had toyed with the idea of splurging on a Fujifilm X-T1 and after renting one and L-O-V-I-N-G it, Mark got me one for my birthday. (He’s a keeper.) I’ll honestly say I don’t pick it up every single day, but I do find myself having fun toying with settings again, and trying different ways of framing a shot. Editing is getting fun again, too. We’re taking baby steps.


I have no intentions of starting a business anytime soon but that dream is coming back. It’s different this time, but I do still see photography in my future. For now we’re just slowly getting reacquainted.

– amanda