Category: lists

Welcome to Let’s Play Oprah, a fun little game we play on the blog here each month in which I dish on my top 3 Favorite Things at the moment, invite you to share YOUR Favorite Things (by leaving a comment on this post, replying to my email, or by using the hashtag #letsplayoprah on social media) and then at the end of the month I give one of those things away!

Maybe to you!

Since I’m a firm believer in keeping things simple, all you have to do to enter to win is subscribe to the blog. You can do that by entering your email in the blue lighted bar at the end of this post- Easy, Done! Once you’re entered, the only way your name ever comes out of the drawing is if you win or if you unsubscribe.

I do this mostly as a way to say Thank You to all you awesome readers who’ve invited me in to your email inbox, but also because it’s fun!

And we ware fun-havers!

So, without further ado, are y’all ready?

Let’s Play Oprahhhh!

Read More…

Welcome to Let’s Play Oprah, a little game we like to play here each month on the blog.

Most of you are already familiar with how this goes, but in case you’re a new reader here, or just randomly stopping by, then let me explain…

Once a month I write a post (this post!), dishing on my top 3 Favorite Things at the moment. You’re always invited to join in on the fun by sharing your own current Favorite Things with the rest of us, either by leaving a comment, sharing about it on social media using the hashtag #letsplayoprah, or simply replying to my email if you’re a subscriber.

Then, at the end of the month, I do a Facebook Live video in which I draw a name out of a giant red Tupperware bowl (because I am extremely tech savvy and professional). (Sarcasm implicit.) (P.S. How many parentheses are too many parentheses?) (P.S.S. Does the punctuation go inside or outside the parenthesis?) I should probably know this.

How you get your name IN that red bowl is super simple- you just subscribe to the blog, which means you get these posts conveniently delivered directly into your email inbox instead of having to find them in the cosmic void of Facebook, Instagram, or the Worldwide Interweb. See? I told you I was tech savvy! Interweb! It’s the future of the regular web. Everyone knows that. It’s science.

There’s a blue lighted bar at the end of each and every post where you can enter the monthly giveaway. Find that blue bar. Click that blue bar. Consider that blue bar a sign of our love and affection for each other.

Anyway, without further ado,

Let’s Play Oprahhhhhhhhhhh!

Every time I type that I intend for you to read it in a singsongy voice, and with a little extra bass. It just sets the mood, you know?

This month my top 3 Favorite Things are: Read More…

If you’re anything like me, then your favorite part of January is the prospect of a fresh new year stretched out before you, full of promise and hope.

And if you’re anything like me, then your least favorite part of January is that it turns into February all too quickly and without incident. Unless you count distractedness and a general sense of overwhelm as “incident.”

And if you’re still anything like me (at this point let’s just go ahead and assume you are, just for the sake of this piece, okay?) then that weighs heavily on you.

The distractedness and overwhelm, I mean.

Because at the end of the day you yearn for simplicity and focus, you just aren’t sure how to stop it from slipping through your fingers.

Finding that inner quiet you crave can be hard enough, but carrying it with you throughout the day is even harder.

The day is loud.

The day is full of to-do lists, commitments to meet, mouths to feed, and places to be.

Meanwhile it’s all set to the fast paced narrative of social media. That constant buzzing in the background; the pings and dings that remind you not only what you’re supposed to be doing, but what everyone else and their Aunt Fay is doing.

As humans living in an Internet era we’re expected to take in and process a huge amount of information at an alarming pace.

Like, an unnatural amount of information.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed. And I don’t mean to feel overwhelmed, I mean to actually be overwhelmed. Read More…

You now that feeling you get after a DTR that went better than you could’ve hoped for?WELL.

Not too long ago I asked all of you readers what you want to talk about in this space this year. True, I’m the one writing and posting most of the time, but that doesn’t mean this is the Amber Show. I want the words shared here to matter to you just as much as they matter to me.

Anyway, I asked, you answered, and I’ve basically been high-fiving a million angels ever since then because if that was our first DTR (determine the relationship) then I’m pretty sure you and I have never been more on the same page.

I read every single one of your responses and I was so excited because it sounds like we want to talk about all the same things.

SO, on the chance that you’re still not sure what to expect in this space, why you’re here, or if you want to stay, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss where we’re headed in 2018 so you can decide if you want to follow along. (I really hope you do!)

I feel like I say this all the time, but I understand that your time is precious. Any 5 minute window you have to scroll is sacred because it’s where you’re choosing to give your  attention. We have to guard and filter the voices we allow into our lives which is why I want to start with a heartfelt Thank You for allowing me into yours.

It’s also why I want to respectfully avoid any “bait and switch” feelings by clearly explaining what this blog can offer you. Read More…

You did it! You made it through January! Before we say another word, go ahead and give yourself a high-five.

Can we all agree that January is one of the wonkiest months of the year?

Is that just me?

The holidays are over and for some some of us that means we’re still barely processing the feelings and experiences that came with them, the bank account is still smarting, the goals and intentions for the new year have been set but it’s too soon to tell which ones we’re actually being successful at, the weather is cold and gray, and some years it all just leaves me feeling a little weird.

On the bright side, I do love me a fresh start, and January is the basically freshest start of all. It’s Day 1 of 365. Full of promise and possibility.

Whichever way you slice it, one thing is for sure- we made it through.

Go us!

I’m so proud of us.

Before we roll into February I wanted to write you a letter to fill you in on the highs and lows of our month over here.

Not just the highlight reel, the real reel too.

This is the stuff I share with my closest friends over coffee, but since most of you don’t live within a 30 mile radius of me (which is the exact distance I’ve deemed worthy of traveling for food or drink. *see last post regarding chipotle burritos*) I’ll just leave it here for you to read at your leisure.

These letters are a little longer and more personal in nature. I only write them once a month because I value your time and don’t want to waste it, so I choose to keep the blog more focused on encouragement and entertainment the rest of the time. But hey, maybe some of my regular day-to-day experiences will resonate with you, and maybe that will encourage or entertain you too. Who knows?

So let’s lead with the fun stuff, shall we?

For starters, we brought two more little baby goats home to the farm and I am low-key obsessed with them.

They’re Nigerian Dwarfs so they’ll stay small, only growing to be about the size of our dogs.


They were aptly named Todd & Margo by our 8 year old son, after our favorite line in Christmas Vacation…

“And why is the carpet all wet Todd?

I don’t KNOW Margo!” Read More…

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time then you’re probably already familiar with Let’s Play Oprah. It’s a fun little game we play once a month in which I share my top 3 “Favorite Things” at the moment, ask you what YOUR favorite things are (because that’s what friends do- they dish on the goods!), and then at the end of the month I do a Facebook Live video to draw a winner and I give away one of the items on the list! (Be sure to tune in on Wednesday, January 31st at 12:30 pm PST)

If you’re interested in this month’s giveaway and you’re wondering how you can be entered to win, it’s actually super simple. You just have to be subscribed to the blog. There’s a blue button at the end of this post- click it, enter your email, and voila! You’re entered to win.

Forever.

No rabbit trails or steps to take each month, it’s a one and done kind of a thing because I like to keep it simple. The only way your name ever comes out of the drawing is if you unsubscribe. Which I’ll admit would make me very sad, but I’d understand. Our email inboxes are sacred ground and sometimes we have to be picky about the voices we allow to fill them up.

Which is why I try to filter every single email I send through the filter of “is this serving YOU?”

I don’t want to be another voice banging around inside your head unless I’m offering you something funny, something helpful, a bit of encouragement and honesty, or in this case, some goodies you should know about.

I can’t believe I just said goodies.

I do Let’s Play Oprah mostly because it’s fun but also as a way to say Thank You to the people who have invited me into their inbox. It’s a big deal. I get that. I’m honored. So here! Have a lipstick (or bullet journal, or Schitt’s Creek dvd, or a book, or whatever else I happen to be obsessed with at the moment.)

Am I buying your love? No.

Am I throwing treats around like confetti at a parade so we can all feel more festive? Hells yes.

SO.

Without further ado, here are my Top 3 Favorite Things this January: Read More…

Usually by the first week of January I’m all amped up and gung-ho about the new year with goals neatly listed in my bullet journal and new habits are either finding their place in my day or dying a thousand deaths faster than you can say “Happy New Year”  (side eye to you, 5:30am workout).

This year is a little different. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’m moving a little slower- a little easier this January. I have more of what you might call “intentions” than hard goals, I’m still praying about what my word of the year will be, and I’m just not feeling particularly motivated in general… Not yet anyway. Check back with me next week?

Either way, January is here, with all it’s expectations, possibility, and potential whether we’re ready for it or not.

I’m not sure where you’re at with all of that- maybe you’re still taking time to reflect on the last year, maybe you’ve already shaken off the dust of the bizarro year that was 2017 and you’re busy feeling like a new you, or maybe you couldn’t give a flying fart in a whirlwind about all this “resolution” nonsense even if you wanted to, which you don’t.

Wherever you happen to land on that spectrum, I figure we’re all probably just doing our best to recalibrate and find our rhythm after the holidays- I know I am. 🙋🏼To borrow a quote from Stuart on Mad TV, “I’m going at my own pace!”

I tried to find a GIF of that sketch, but apparently it was too deep of a cut, even for Google, so for all you fellow 90’s teens who can appreciate it, here’s a different GIF of Stuart:

Anyway, I decided that instead of trying to come out of the 2018 gate with some deep, thought provoking, world changing piece, it would be more fun to take a quick look back at some of our favorite posts from 2017. So I did some investigating and these were the top 5 most-viewed posts from the blog last year. Some of them are my own personal favorites as well.

Here they are, in case you missed them!

When Your Body is Having a Mid-Life Crisis Read More…

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time then you probably already know about Let’s Play Oprah.

If you’re new here, (hey! hi!👋🏼) let me explain: It’s a game we play each month in which I share my top 3 “Favorite Things” at the moment, and then at the end of the month I give one of those things away to a lucky reader.

You’re always invited to share YOUR Favorite Things too, so I hope you leave a comment and tell us all what you’re digging right now. It can be anything- food, products, podcasts, t.v. shows, movies, drinks, music, clothes, you name it. There are no rules, except you must dish because that’s what friends do.

If you’re subscribed to this blog that means you’ve invited me into your email inbox which is a privilege I don’t take lightly, and also why I’ve decided that ALL subscribers are automatically entered to win the monthly giveaway. Forever. The only time your name comes out of the drawing is if you unsubscribe or if you just won (in which case your name goes back in 6 months later).

Sometimes I’ll spice it up by adding extra ways to enter, like commenting on a FB live video or over on IG/Twitter, but by far the easiest way is to subscribe by email, so if you’re picking up what I’m putting down, just scroll to the bottom of this post or to the right margin of the page and enter your email address!

Okay, now that we have all the business out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff!

This month my 3 Favorite Things are: Read More…

It’s baaaaaaaaack!

Let’s Play Oprah is finally here again which means it’s time to talk Favorite Things and then I’m going to give one away.

Maybe even to you!

I’m not going to lie- I’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of Let’s Play Oprah even more than I’ve been awaiting the return of good fall T.V. And you know how I feel about my fall T.V.

We took the summer off from it but I’m so excited to be back dishing about all my Favorite Things. I had such a hard time narrowing it down to the usual three because I feel like there was so much good stuff we didn’t cover over the summer- like Cobian flip flops (sooo comfy) or my new favorite color of bullet journal (nordic blue), or how I made it 35 years until discovering how funny David Sedaris’ books are- but there’s simply not enough time to go over ALL the things so let’s just get right down to this month’s list.

  1. My absolute favorite wardrobe go-to this summer has been this long floral maxi dress.

It’s loose, comfortable, and IT EVEN HAS POCKETS, Y’ALL! 

I just love dresses with pockets. I’m not even sure why? It’s not like I really put much in them. I guess I’m just a sucker for a look that says, “Yah I’m fancy. What.” while also saying,“Look how effortless I am!” at the same time.I feel like a dress with pockets really nails that particular message, you know?

Anyway, I own this dress in 4 different colors/patterns and the red one is my favorite but I wear all of them all the time. But do you want to know the best part? I got it for just 20 bucks! Twenty bucks! For a whole outfit! The length makes it perfect for Fall too, just throw on a cute cardigan and you’re good to go.

2. My second favorite item this Fall is this cute leather backpack from Gap.

I’ve been wanting to transition from a purse to a backpack for a while now but it’s so hard to find one that’s the right size and stylish. Too big and you look like you’re 12 years old, too small and you’ve crossed over into the 90’s-Clueless-mini-backpack-era. I know that the 90’s have come full circle and are supposedly the “cool” kind of retro again, but personally I’m not just there yet.

This backpack is the perfect size for a purse replacement, it’s sleek and simple, and YOU GUYS, it’s so comfortable to wear! I might never go back to a regular purse. No more shoulder pain on long shopping trips! No more stuff flying out and hitting you in the face when you bend over to tie a shoe or unload the car! I am liberated! Don’t even get me started on how perfect it is for travel.

3. My final Favorite Thing, and the item I’ll be giving way this month is this limited edition lipstick at Clinique called Capri Pop from the Jonathan Adler collection.

It’s technically a Lip Primer and Lip Color in one, so it lasts for hours and this shade is just so, so fun. I tend to only wear lipstick if it’s a playful, bold color and this fits the bill on both. I’ve worn it all summer long and I’ll continue to wear it into the Fall. It’s a perfect shade blend between a true red and a berry, making it surprisingly versatile to wear. I wear it with both pinks and reds and it somehow manages to match them all. It won’t be around for long as it’s a limited edition so I snatched up a few and I’m giving one away to a lucky reader.

If you’re wondering how to be entered to win, there’s two ways to make sure you’re in the running:

  1. Comment on this post either here on the blog, or whatever social media channel you found it on (Twitter, FB, IG). You can tell me one of your Favorite Things right now (I’d love to hear!) , you say “enter me”, or you can even just say Hi. Every comment counts towards the drawing. *OR*
  2. Click the blue lighted bar at the bottom of this page and enter your email address. Subscribing with your email gets your name in the drawing FIVE times instead of once, so I mean, if you’re the betting type then you’ve got to love those odds.

Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for my next Facebook Live, where I’ll go over all the items in person and draw a name from my big red bowl!

Yahoo! Blogging is fun!

In a couple of days I’ll be hitting the road with my best friend (the other Amber) and all of our kids for the long-awaited Road-trip of 2017.

It’s a tradition we started 5 summers ago, after reading stories from one of our favorite authors (winky face to you, Melanie Shankle) about the adventures and memories that came from doing the same thing with her best friend and their kids every year.

We loved the idea so much that we started our own version of the tradition: No husbands. No plane rides over oceans. No babysitters. No fancy Pinterest-worthy handcrafted car-entertainment. Just 2 Ambers, 5 kids, and the open road. Actually, this year we’ll have 6 kids because one of them has reached teenager status and officially needs a friend to survive a long car ride with “the littles”.

Every year the Road Trip is the best of times:imageimage

And the worst of times:

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But it never fails to be the highlight of our kids’ summer and the thing we all talk about for the rest of the break.

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One year the car broke down.

One year we promised to take the kids to the famous Sea Glass Beach, got lost on an 11 hour tour of the coastline, finally discovered that the beach was too dangerous because of high tides, and settled on getting ice cream as our “fun” for the day.

One year Amber was kept awake all night long for two nights in a row, driven crazy by the faintest sound of a Mariachi band that she assumed was outside her window (because that’s normal…?) but it turned out that the radio next to her bed was set to the Spanish station on the lowest volume.

One year my 6-year-old son lost his ever-loving mind in an Oscar-worthy meltdown at Disneyland because he was terrified of Johnny Depp- a fact we were all unaware of until we were boarding the ride for Pirates of the Caribbean and he literally tried to jump off the boat in a mix of terror and fury.

This year we’ve got Yosemite on the docket, then we’ll head to a random water park in a little town called Gilroy, which is apparently famous for it’s garlic production… So basically Gilroy Gardens will either be really cool or really lame, and I guess we’ll just have to find out when we get there. (Sidenote: “Gilroy Gardens” is actually harder to say than you’d think, so now we just choose from “Gilmore Girls”, “Bilbo Baggins”, “Gilroy Bilbo”, “Guru Gardens” or any other wildly incorrect but fun to say pairing of words.

After GooGoo Gardens we’ll head to Santa Cruz and Capitola for the last couple of days of our trip where we’re guaranteed some beach fun and delicious pastries from our favorite little cafe there, aptly named The Buttery. We’ve made it a point to stop there almost every single year, BECAUSE BUTTER.

When all else fails, we always have The Buttery.

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I guess you could say we’ve learned a few things about road-tripping the hard way over the years, so we thought we’d share a few insider tips, in case you’re hitting the road with your littles this summer too.

  1. Whatever number of water bottles you think you’ll need for a long car ride- double it.  This will also double the number of potty stops, but by God, we can’t let them go thirsty.
  2. Crossing the street with children is the equivalent of crossing the street with 5 drunks. Proceed with caution.
  3. Never underestimate the power of candy. Also never underestimate the power of promising a “surprise” even when you have no idea what that “surprise” is yet.
  4. If you’re wearing flip-flops in the vicinity of little kids, your toes will be stepped on multiple times a day. You will be expected not to mind this.
  5. Anytime after hour 7 in the car, there will be psychotic bursts of hysteria: laughing and gleefully shrieking one minute, crying and wailing the next. The kids may do this also.

Good luck, go with God, and, wish us luck on our next adventure!

I’ll let you know how it goes….


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