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

muse moments

I’m starting a new habit this spring: walking to & from the library to get in some serious writing time each weekend. So here I sit, in the library with my laptop as my companion, feeling motivated & accomplished. Now that the weather is warmer, have you adapted any new routines? This week’s muse moments are inspired by the renewal that comes with this time of year. Hope it inspires you as it does me!

Soak up the atmosphere of a beautiful library, like the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University. A library serves as a sanctuary for me–a place where I can collect my thoughts & immerse myself in a story, whether I’m writing it or simply reading it.

I came across this quote in The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson. The nonfiction book about an architect & a serial killer takes place in Chicago during a time of tumultuous growth. (I pick up books on my to-read list just as I am about to travel to the places that serve as their settings.) The architect’s famous line serves well for any dream turned plan.

Feminism has been a hot topic in our house as of late. I’m a proud feminist who has spoken for women’s rights & launched campaigns with others to raise awareness for various issues of importance to me. Recent campaigns now focus on redefining (or shall we say “clarifying?”) the term “feminist.” That being said, what does feminism mean to you?

The gold bar jewelry is fast becoming a trend, but a simplistic necklace like this can also serve as a reminder with a mantra of your choosing. Whether it be “wanderlust” to remind you of your deep desire to travel, or “think green” to motivate an eco-conscious lifestyle, find the saying that encourages you to go after what you want from life.

& finally, a little piece of advice a la Holly Golightly, Audrey Hepburn’s mesmerizing character from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

For whatever inspires you, set your mind to the task at hand until you’ve accomplished it.  Remember, the key is to do. Start at your own pace, but keep going. Soon, it will become a habit. Then, it will be easier to go faster & further. Once you accomplish your goals, you can set out to make new ones.

Till next time, ladies & gents…

dream it: 5 inspiring travel quotes to encourage your wanderlust

You probably have dreams aplenty that keep your bucket list brimming with possibilities.  If you still need motivation to pack your bags and head out on that horizon, let these 5 inspirational travel quotes be your mantra.   Hit the road or hop a plane because the world beckons!

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-Ibn Battuta

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Author unknown.

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-J. R. R. Tolkien

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-The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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-Francois Rabelais

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I’m finishing off a beautiful weekend here. After quality time with family & fun-filled evenings with friends, I am ready to tackle the week with enthusiasm! Here is some inspiration around the web to help you launch your week:

At first glance, this scenic view looks like the elven paradise from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  This national park in China certainly seems to be a dreamscape.  It’s real enough though.  Shall we go see it for ourselves?

These small gold studded earbuds are ideal travel mates that can fit in your pocket.  As you travel along, you can play your own wanderlust-inspired playlist or listen to travel guides & design your own unique tour.

I live in leggings in the winter, particularly fleece-lined & textured ones.  These comic strip leggings ought to be added to the closet.  What do you think?

Create a visual aid to help you master your work week. This daily interactive reminder will help keep you on track.

Embracing who you are, faults & all, can only strengthen your character.

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Welcome to 2015, ladies & gents!  Greg & I hosted a fancy affair & rang in the new year with a champagne toast surrounded by friends.  I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions because I constantly set goals for myself throughout the year.  I like the idea of resolutions though & starting a new year with a fresh perspective on who I am & where I want to go in life.  So this year, I will set resolutions of a sort by sharing my goals for 2015.  Here is what I hope to accomplish in the new year:

Goal 1: work hard at the thing I love.  Since I’ve started this endeavor back in August, each week has been more exciting than the last.  Now that I have found my groove, it’s time to focus on making this venture as successful as I can.  I can’t thank you enough for supporting LIVE THE LUXE LIFE & playing a key role in the growth of this blog.

Goal 2: check another new destination of my travel list.  Travel & education are the only things you can buy that make you richer.  I am ready for a new adventure because with each new travel experience, I feel my global perspective broaden a little bit more.

Goal 3: improve my snapshots.  I want to focus on capturing memorable photos by thinking outside of the box like these unique travel pictures.

Goal 4: work on my punctuality.  My friends & family are quite accustomed to me arriving fashionably late (it’s become part of my charm!).  However, I plan on allowing myself more time to get ready so that I can improve my on-time record.  Wish me luck!

Goal 5: read more often.  I’ve been an avid reader all my life, but my busy schedule has been eating up my reading time.  This year, I’m going to get back to my favorite pastime.

This should be an exciting year for this blog as well.  Welcome to the new revamped version of livetheluxelife.net!  You can expect fresh content weekly, including new travel guides for Europe & places in the States, more hot spots from Kansas City & St. Louis, & tips on hosting your own fabulous parties throughout the year.  Stop in on Monday for one final look at Venice, & again on Wednesday for a feature on our first holiday party.  Till then, I shall simply say have a wonderful new year!

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Ladies & gents, I hope that you have found many reasons to be thankful this week.  With so much going on around us at this moment, it can be difficult to stay positive, but I for one am incredibly thankful for so many reasons.  I hope you too can find joy in your life & focus on your reasons to be thankful.  Here are things that have inspired me as of late:

This is my mantra as of late.  Too often, we want to speak our minds, but at what cost?  Alienating or offending someone?  Sometimes, your message needs to be heard.  But think before you speak about what you have to say & the reason why you feel the need to say it.  Is your strong opinion worth making enemies over?  With that in mind, if & when you do decide to speak on something important to you, I hope you are able to find new comrades & spread a good message.

The richness of this library with its’ red couches & dark walls make you want to cozy up & settle in for the night.  The back lighting for the book shelves add to the depth of the room & serve a great purpose in addition.

Remember that bathroom remodel I mentioned being on my horizon?  Looks like it’s here!  Perhaps this luxurious rainfall shower head should make its way into our budget.

Hey, gents…it is the end of the month, which means it is finally the end of Novembeard!  Did you know where this trend of not shaving in November began?  It actually started in Australia under the name of “Movember,” encouraging gents to grow their finest mustaches in hopes of raising awareness for men’s health issues.  “No Shave November” became an international event to shed more light on prostrate & testicular cancer, & encourage donations to the American Cancer Society in its efforts to rid the world of these horrible diseases.  I think these are noble causes & appreciate all you hairy men out there who have done this for such awesome reasons.  Now that December is here, let’s not forget about the fight against cancer & other important health matters…but let’s clean up those faces a bit.  Here’s my list of the best barbershops in St. Louis to help you with that!