muse moments

Inspiration has been a beautiful beacon of light to me this year as I continue to write on my novel daily. Here’s hoping passion comes and grips you at least once in your life. The trick, I’ve found, is to grab it right back — and never let it go. For those of you who’ve found it and those still searching, here is a dose of muse-worthy moments to keep you going on your quest for a passion-filled existence:


A dessert so naturally sweet it makes your tooth ache just looking at it. One of the many samplings found at the decadent dessert buffet courtesy of Saint Louis Club.

History that speaks to the soul. Immerse yourself in this gorgeous house of blues at National Blues Museum in St. Louis. And while you’re there, be sure to snap an Instagram-worthy shot of you onstage with Mamie Smith and her Jazz Hounds. Tag @nationalbluesmuseum and see if the museum regrams your image like they did mine!

An off-the-shoulder merlot dress with golden accents (as modeled by my fabulous “twin,” Liz Simone) makes for the perfect number to wear to a vintage couture fashion show.

Aglow in emerald green outside of Four Seasons of Fashion, the St. Louis’ Symphony’s debut vintage couture fashion show. An unconventional runway show, the combination of designer gowns and beautiful music from the Grammy-award winning orchestra easily cultivated creativity. Crystal adornment courtesy of Collections by Joya.

What don’t I adore about a place that encourages you to pop open a bottle of wine and create art? Painting With a Twist afforded me just that opportunity. I celebrated Mother’s Day with my wonderful mom-in-law by painting daisies on a vibrant background. Her version, on the left, more closely resembles the original painting we modeled ours after while mine was an anstract version, for sure. Wishing my mom, who resides on the other side of the state, could’ve been there to celebrate with us!

Share your muse-worthy moments via Instagram and Twitter by tagging @amandasluxelife and #MuseMoments.

this one’s for the lovers

Some of you may know this about me already, but for those who don’t, I got my start as a professional writer with a dating column. I gave the column up once I became a staff writer at a local magazine. Every now and again though, my previous work comes up (and usually prompts the question, “Can you offer me some dating advice?”). So, it seems only fitting to take a look back at some of my most memorable advice for the truly committed, the just getting started and even those who are playing it solo this Valentine’s Day.

5 Signs You’ve Met a Real Life Prince Charming

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The 4 Worst Ways to Say “I Love You”

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Superheroes and Dating Disasters

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Why Being Single Can Be for the Best

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How to Move From Friends to Lovers

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The Long-distance Relationship: How to Make Your Love Last

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The DOs and DON’Ts of Having a Friendship with Benefits

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Bad Boy Blues

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Share your plans or hit me up for dating tips in the comments section below.

Enjoy your holiday, lovers!

XO,

Amanda

Photos of Amanda Dahl C/O of Essence Photography by Martha

muse moments: 2016 new year resolutions

Maybe you’re not a big believer in the cliched New Year’s resolutions, but there is value to recognizing your aspirations and designing a plan to better yourself. At the end of 2015, I looked back on last year’s resolutions for myself and felt a strong sense of accomplishment. Chances are you already tell yourself you’re going to get better at this thing or another. Turn that thought into a mantra this year and find a way to challenge yourself in the best way possible. After all, baby steps can lead to big changes in a year’s time. Here are my 2016 resolutions… Maybe you’ll find an ounce of inspiration in them:

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This is the part where I apologize to you, loyal readers, for my hiatus from LIVE THE LUXE LIFE. Since mid Fall, I’ve filled my free time with writing pages and pages on my novel. Inspiration hit me like a mad fever, as often happens when you’re a writer… But this delirium still has me in its grasp. I think I’ve finally figured out how to subdue my procrastination and stay dedicated to the craft from which I derive all my passion. And for that, I do not apologize. So, here’s looking at you, 2016. This may just be the year I near completion (or possibly even finish) my first book.

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You know that friend who always pulls the camera phone out any time you go out? Uh huh, that’s me. Y’know, the one you rely on for your next profile pic or trip down memory lane. As my friends and family can tell you though, I’ve gotten real bad this year about posting those photos in a decent time span. (I haven’t uploaded photos from as far back as summer yet, oops.) I’m starting fresh this year and aiming to upload photos within a week of an event. Won’t my friends and family be relieved?

 

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We’ve become the perpetual hosts for any holiday shindig as you can see here and here. It has been a true pleasure…and a heck of a lot of work. This past year, we’ve spent more time cleaning up after these events than actually enjoying them. So, we’re pulling back the reins a bit. We still love entertaining and plan to do so in the future. House parties though are happening at a much more manageable size; and big numbers will be moved to an outside venue. Not our zoo, not our monkeys…that’s what I’m always sayin’.

 

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Most importantly, I must strive to find the good in the world. With terrorism and gun violence running rampant, it’s difficult to stay optimistic and keep faith in humanity. But there is good to be found in this world. Look at the people taking in refugees. Look at the homes that opened their doors to harbor strangers during the Paris attack, or the countries around the world that lit up their landmarks with the colors of the French flag. Yes, there is evil all around us. Let us shed light on that evil and stand in solidarity against it.

headliner image c/o Essence Photography by Martha

fashion femme: layer me pretty

IMG_0363Autumn is by far my favorite season. Between leaves changing into glorious colors, pumpkins and weather that doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to melt right out of my skin, what’s not to adore? Yet fall is a tricky month for figuring one’s wardrobe. Temperatures shift like moods, from freezing in the morning to (dare I say?) warm by afternoon.
How do you plan what to wear that will adapt from one situation to the next? Layers, of course.

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For this look, pair a lightweight long-sleeved top with a heavy-knit short-sleeved cardi a la Forever 21 (find similar here). Dark skinnies match everything effortlessly. (So, get yourself a pair–stat!) The ripped details of this pair matched all too well with the textured top from Victoria’s Secret. Top off with a casual fedora (find similar here) and a pair of show-stopping boots (find similar here). To complete the ensemble, layer a couple of necklaces. Find this fantastic crystal pendant necklace at Joya. This local jewelry designer has a panache for incorporating natural elements with delicate designs. Want another reason to check them out? Proceeds from each purchase goes to charities for women. Plus, the hand-crafted jewelries and accessories are created by artisan communities from around the world. Find out more for yourself by browsing the curated fall collection.

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Thanks to Collections by Joya for sponsoring this post! Stop in soon for a peek at St. Louis Fashion Week and a new hot spot addition.

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muse moments

Happy hump-day, ladies and gents! My favorite season is upon us…even if the weather can’t make up it’s mind to follow suit. It might be warm enough during the day to sport bare legs, but I’ll still be rocking my boots. Bring on the autumn colors, the changing trees, the pumpkin carving, the hot chocolate…and of course, Halloween. As we prepare for the magical holiday and our annual costume party, here’s some muse moments to keep you inspired:

luggageEver since our last European excursion, the husband and I have needed a suitcase upgrade. We seriously put our previous set through its paces. Our next set would need a hard casing to withstand jumping from train to train and racing to catch a jet. Also, a pattern or bold color certainly would prove useful to spot our suitcase on an airport’s conveyor belt. So when I came across this beauty on wheels, it was impossible to resist. Got it home and we discovered it nearly matches my photo taken at the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. This suitcase is setting the bar pretty high, don’t you think?

belt

I’ve been pulling this belt out of my closet a lot recently. I adore the beaded texture and wooden clasp. Plus, it’s a reminder of our adventurous time in Florida last summer, where I discovered this luxe tribal adornment.

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The bright pinks commonly associated with spring are going to prove fierce with your winter wardrobe. I’m looking forward to pairing this rich color, Shopping in Paris by Pink Holiday, with a monochromatic look. Find it here.

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Got my fill of decadent design at the LN Show House, where 12 rooms of a local mansion were completely transformed by local designers. Some of my favorite spaces included the mod pool house, decked out in eye-catching art like this full-wall distorted portrait in black-and-white; as well as the library with a thick wool rug that felt like walking on a cloud, and a statement green ceiling that made the room feel like an inverse of the outdoors.

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Tell me what’s got you dreaming as of late, & be sure to visit back soon for my latest hot spot addition.

fashion femme: starlet style

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Allow me to introduce the lovely Liz. Everyone knows her as my “twin” because we’ve so often been confused for each other by strangers. We passed for sisters more convincingly when our hair was the same color, but we do share an odd resemblance for having no shared genes. And as we also share an adoration for classic films, it seemed only a matter of time before we replicated our favorite starlets’ styles. So, the twin and I piled up our hair, threw on some lipstick and headed to Chandler Hill Winery, all dolled up like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.

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Marilyn’s doppelganger and I share a passion for writing. So, we whipped out our notebooks to jot a few notes, over wine and apple slices with brie.

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These pictures (cleverly, I might add) don’t show the bustling crowds at a winery on a beautiful weekend. Every now and again, we’d catch some onlookers, or even the occasional photo bomber. It seems even a male model came out of the woodwork and decided to join us for a bit.

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And of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a little beauty advice from the screen queens themselves…

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she’ll conquer the world.” Marilyn Monroe.

“Happy girls are the prettiest.” Audrey Hepburn.

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Till next time…

world wanderer: architectural gems in Chicago

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At the turn of the 20th century, the term skyscraper finally was coined. Chicago led the way in architectural design, creating the modern skyline. Now, it is hard to call to mind a city without imagining its soaring high buildings and industrial landscape. So, when we swung by Chicago for a psychology conference, I tried to capture the magnetism of these formidable buildings known as skyscrapers…along with a few other eye-catching urban designs.

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Greg, pictured at top, stands looking out on the deck of the Shedd Aquarium. While waiting in the tremendously long line (this place is wildly popular), I caught the aquatic details in the building’s ceiling tiles and light, as seen below.

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The Palmer House Hilton is a decadent ode to love. Potter Palmer originally built the hotel for his bride, Bertha. The Great Chicago Fire destroyed it completely, but that didn’t stop him from rebuilding in grander style, and creating one of the world’s most luxurious hotels.

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Marked by the steel globe, the famed Willis Tower, commonly referred to as the Sears Tower (it changed names with new owners), was built in 1973. It surpassed the World Trade Center’s twin towers in height, and held the title of tallest building in the world for a quarter-century. Now, it ranks as the second highest building in the United States and No. 13 in the world.

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Hope you all missed me as much as I missed you!
From a weekender’s guide to Chicago to Scandinavian culture and a list of Stockholm’s must-see sites, I promise my upcoming posts are worth the wait. Safe travels, dear readers!

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