When I first got engaged, I had hopes that I’d turn this blog into a kind of trials and ideas leading up to the wedding. I’d had ideas that I’d share, because in the beginning it seemed easy; I’d tell you how to make lists and the secrets to finding a wedding venue. After my first couple of posts, I realized that I had no idea what I was doing and had no idea where I was going with any of my ideas. I’d go through wedding blogs after wedding blogs. I didn’t know how to properly communicate with Jared, let alone write a blog about anything. Just now am I able to process anything. Things in life have calmed down, and I’m less crazy (didn’t say I wasn’t crazy just said less.) When people tell me they’re engaged, I want to laugh at them and cry for them because personally it was the worst experience in my life. I cried and laughed.. wait no, I never laughed. I only cried and flipped out, especially at Jared. Finding a dress was the worst. Hand writing all of my invitations after my Save the Dates were printed out so cutely. Having only 1 bridesmaid with me for most of my engagement was hard, especially when the questions I’d ask Jared were intended to be answered by a girl. When I’d tell married people I was engaged, I’d also ask what their best advice was. I do the same now. For me it’s fun to hear different stages of marriage lay importance on an issue. Different people say different things and it’s fun to hear morals and values in a marriage. There are the typical ones; communicate and laugh together. Those are very important but two of my favorite pieces of advice are: Always go to bed together. This is not to be confused with never go to bed angry. If we’re friends you know I hate that advice. If it’s bedtime and I’m angry and you keep me up to resolve an issue, it’ll only get worse. SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO GO TO BED! I know this is true, and not just for myself. When I’m past pure exhaustion, I will say things I do not mean and I will turn into a different person. If you go to sleep, you can wake up with a brand new day and a clear CALM mind. I’ll have an adult conversation with you, and we can sort out our differences, insecurities, selfishness and learn to grow together. However, always going to bed together means that you value the marriage bed and that you’re not pushing someone out to the couch or spare bedroom. No matter your argument, you’re choosing to share close quarters with someone.

My second piece of advice that I received was in a card from a lady who I always want to have in my life. She said to surround yourself with other Christian couples. As cheesy as that may sound, it became very vital to me. Not only vital but realistic. I noticed that the people who we surrounded ourselves with affected how we treated each other. It’s not just working with each other in this marriage, but it’s to leave where we currently stand in better condition than when we found it. We don’t do it alone, we do it together. It also became very clear to me at one of my bridal showers. I looked around the room and saw a group of married women who could advise me and had husbands who could advise Jared. I saw a group of girls who would ask me how I was doing outside of the surface level question. They could ask me how it was being a wife expecting an honest answer in return. It truly has become one of the pieces of life I am most grateful for.

As I go month to month in marriage, I’m excited to see other pieces of advice take effect. I know that as much as I’ll hate it in the moment, I’m excited for those moments of growth between us. I’m excited to succeed and struggle, and I’m excited to do it with Jared. As Jared says, it’s not me or we, it’s us.1003551_10153472362535317_1493250445_n

I’m excited to share these with you! The day of our engagement shoot it poured and for a half an hour I was terribly upset that the plans we had made weren’t going to happen. As the girl who did my hair handed me a cute umbrella I decided we should just take advantage of the rain. What I’ve learned from planning a wedding is that 10 years from now will I still appreciate these? The answer to my question and to our day is yes. Not because we went to a pretty field like my original plan but we went to all our favorite places together. In 10 years from now I hope to look back on these photos and smile and be reminded of the memories we have left in Bold Bean together. Almost every time we’re together we go to Bold Bean to start or end our days. We like to include this in in all of our dates and play a game of Chess. We use to play Banana Grams but I’d always winūüėČ now we play chess and Jared always wins. Bold Bean is one of our favorite places and I’m glad we were able to capture images of memories we’ll cherish forever.¬†View More: http://mothomp.pass.us/amanda-and-jaredView More: http://mothomp.pass.us/amanda-and-jaredView More: http://mothomp.pass.us/amanda-and-jaredView More: http://mothomp.pass.us/amanda-and-jaredView More: http://mothomp.pass.us/amanda-and-jaredView More: http://mothomp.pass.us/amanda-and-jaredView More: http://mothomp.pass.us/amanda-and-jaredMy engagement ring was his mothers. I love things with meaning no matter what this ring looks like, I’m in love with it.¬†In the past year Jared‚Äôs mom has had 8 surgeries on her brain. I won‚Äôt go into detail of everything that this family has gone through but because of this this ring is something I‚Äôll forever hold close to my heart. When Jared told me both his dad and mother suggested this ring for me there was an immediate sense of honor I felt. It was a feeling I had never felt before especially for a piece of¬†jewelry. I’m incredibly thankful that this is my first family heirloom.
View More: http://mothomp.pass.us/amanda-and-jaredView More: http://mothomp.pass.us/amanda-and-jaredThank you Bold Bean! Thank you Morgan Thompson!

So I’m taking a break from posting about weddings because frankly it’s at a stand still.

I thought I’d share my thoughts on the blog I write for called, Somewhere in the City.¬†photo (57)

I started Say Something Clever just to document my food adventures last year. It was mostly for me and for my mom who lives miles away from me. It got a little bit more popular than I had anticipated. And because of that I met Morgan. Morgan started Somewhere in the City late last year. We met up to kind of share our interests and what we wanted to come out of each of our blogs. We had very similar interests so it just made sense to partner up and make one really great blog. Not that our blog is anything close to perfect. We relaunched the blog together at the beginning of this year and it’s been nothing but fun. At time it’s overwhelming but that’s only because I’m personally working two jobs and wedding planning. It’s the good kind of overwhelming.

I know most of you know this little story but I wanted to share it again because last night we went to our first event. I mean we’ve gone to events before but this one we were invited to cover, ha. I know I seem like I’m 15 and maybe the event wasn’t that cool and maybe we were the youngest people there but the point is someone read the blog, loved what we were doing, and thought to invite us. It is just a nice little pay off, you know?

Since this is my personal blog I thought I’d share some behind the scenes and some of my favorite posts that we’ve done so far. What works great about Morgan and I, is we play off of each other strengths. Morgan is a photographer and pretty darn good, every time we go out together I¬†guarantee¬†she gets better each time. I’m not just saying it either, I like her so much and feel comfortable around her that I booked her to be my wedding photographer. Point is, Morgan takes great photos so she puts a lot of work into capturing our adventures and putting the time into editing them on top of her editing weddings.

I like words and I like to write, as you can tell we’re already into the fourth paragraph and only one photo. I forgot commas and I probably have a ton of mistakes but I like to write. So I do most of the writing for our blog. We designed it at the beginning of the year to be ahead of ourselves on posts.. now we’re more like two days ahead. My writing sometimes can be only 8 hours ahead. I’ll need to get better at planning my week out.

So now for some of my favorite posts. Yes, I have favorites and this is my blog I’ll share my favorites.chompOne of the first places we went to before we relaunched was Chomp Chomp. I love this place so much. I go there quite often. Read the Somewhere in the City review here.pelesWe did our first double date here and it was my first time here. I don’t like pizza that much so I never thought to go in. Until I heard about $5 pizzas on Monday nights. Oh my word. I try to go to Pele’s every Monday night!! Read our full review here.

As much as I love food and talking about it my favorite part of our blog is our People of the City posts. ¬†It’s been so wonderful listening to everyone’s stories and passions. Man, the people we get to sit down with. First my favorite is Marti.photo-1¬†Marti found this blog and encouraged me to keep writing. She is a big supporter of both Say Something Clever and Somewhere in the City. She has a heart to end poverty and just loves the city. (we didn’t have a camera this day so iphone 4 to the rescue)

Next is JessejesseJesse was just plain fun to talk to. He created a poetry reading group that reads once a month. It’s called Immortal Soul. He’s a deep thinker and I think it just reminded me to stop and think. Plus he has a pretty fun view of life.

More recently we met Scott.scottScott home brews and he’s won a few medals for his beer. I don’t think I’d ever get to experience something like that if it weren’t for this blog. And hey, who knew someone so legit lived in our city. Read more about home brewing here.

We do a ton with IgersJax, the Instagram account. We met up with the guy and he features us quite often. Every Thursday we pick some of our favorite pictures from around the city and feature them on our blog. If you want a chance to be featured just hashtag igersjax. If you want to throw in our hashtag too, we wouldn’t mind #somewhereinthecity.

We’ve had a ton of people tell us they love our blog and what we’re doing. We’ve been featured and reposted a lot and it’s so nice to hear and see, I am thankful for it. I didn’t know what I was stepping into when we started it and I can only see it getting bigger!

If I haven’t give you enough links already here’s just one more. If you want to keep updated with Somewhere in the City just follow it! Leave us some comments tell us what your favorite is! Click here!

I feel as if my wedding planning has come to a stand still. As I wait for paychecks to come in so I can buy a little piece of my ceremony and reception at a time I feel procrastination creeping in.

If you’re a close friend you’ve heard me say these things before, so I pre-apologize for being redundant. I find it funny that girls don’t think in realism, they think in white dresses and pretty colors. Or maybe they don’t they just don’t talk about the realism. Beth Moore doesn’t write the pracitical things I need to know in her books. Like…

How do I sign my new last name in cursive?

Where do I go to change my social security card?

Where do we live as a married couple?

Why does no one talk about making budgets before getting married?photo (66)Practicing my future last name. But for real, the ‘G’ and the ‘S’ are something I need to work on. I felt like I was playing MASH when writing this over and over. My future sail boat name.

If anyone has practical marriage advice I need to know. LET ME KNOW.


I like to do everything at once. I have a lack of patience. The two days after I got engaged and the shock wore off I went into strict research. I have this business mindset of how everything should work. I think it’s a good to think in terms using words of revenue and expenses. I don’t know how it happened¬†considering¬†I went to bible college. I researched costs, colors, venues, chairs, flowers, favors, and so the wedding list goes on. I even have a secret wedding board on Pinterest! I’ve presented my wedding finances to my parents as if I was selling them car insurance shyly asking for help and how much their willing to give. I have rough drafts for three different plans and I have a book one of my bridesmaids gave to me that says, ‘Dreams Start Here’ I still have multiple pages left to fill and I’ve asked girls I trust who are married the secrets behind this trade called a wedding day. All of them have been so sweet and very detailed. Each of them have given me more than a paragraph to read and I wasn’t expecting them to even take the time of day to respond back to me. All of them have reminded me to plan more for my marriage then the day I get married. They remind me to not lose sight that this day will be the day a new adventure will begin.

Last night, past pure exhaustion and past being overwhelmed I continued to research wedding plans thinking it’d be soothing since I’d be looking for the “fun” things. I started to look for bridesmaid dresses and found a ton of cute ones. I thought I’d start to look for wedding dress examples, worst mistake to do at 11:45 at night. I remind myself a lot of times that I am a girl and I’m crying because I am a girl. I don’t have this perfect dress in mind that every bride speaks of. I just wanted something that I wouldn’t feel insecure in. Wedding dresses do not exist like that unless I want to look like a box. Could a giant white box be cute? I don’t know, my hair is long enough to go topless. I mean the bride is suppose to turn heads right? I’d rather wear my bridesmaid’s dresses.

This morning I was scrolling through my news feed and saw Tori from Marvelous Things Photography¬†¬†post this article titled, “The Most Important Photos to Take at Your Wedding.” Naturally, I needed to let my future wedding photographer to know what her job was so I thought I’d make sure I knew what these photos were. I started crying in my car on King Street when the article wasn’t what I had expected it to be. It was these words that put me to tears before an important meeting in my car..

To photograph your parents, who will hold hands and cry on the first row of the chapel. To photograph your sister dancing with that boy she will marry in three years. To photograph those kids who will grow up so, so quickly. To photograph your grandfather, who will pass away next spring. To photograph your first kiss as a married couple, your best friend busting out her signature dance moves, the flower girl asleep under a table, and maybe even your ex looking pretty wistful as he hugs you a little too long in the receiving line.

You already know: your cake will disappear in less than an hour, your flowers will wilt before the ceremony ends, and that uncomfortable tux will go back to the rental place in the morning. But those photos… they’re gonna be there forever. You’ll have them when your own kids are born, when you have the biggest fight ever with your partner and need to be reminded of how much you really love each other, when your parents pass away and you realize the last time you danced with them was at your wedding…

It reminded me that my Dad will probably pick a country song that I hate to dance with me to, my mom will cry every time I turn to talk to her on my wedding day because she’s been praying for Jared ever since I was 14. It reminded me that one of my sister’s told me she wouldn’t miss my wedding for the world because the Lord has blessed her financially these past couple of years, it reminded me how my forever friends will be standing right behind me on this day helping me by telling me I don’t smell and how you can’t tell how much back sweat I really have and reminding me I really am pretty. It reminded me how precious my ring is and how I will be stepping into a family where I’ll receive three little brothers (even though they aren’t so little) It reminded me that when the day is finished I will walk away as someone’s wife. Not just someone but Jared. I’ll be Jared’s wife and we’ll start our adventure through life together.

To read the full article I’m referring to click here.

These guys are my soundtrack to my day.


I like stories a lot. This is a little embarrassing to share but I was so scared of the dark growing up that my mom slept with me until I was in the 5th grade. ha! Whenever she would lay down with me at bed time she would tell me a story. She wouldn’t tell me fairy tale stories, she’d tell me her childhood stories. This is probably why I grew up thinking in realism and not dreaming as much as a 10 year old should. Because of this I like hearing stories all of the time, especially when they come from Jared. I also have a horrible memory so when he runs out of stories of his childhood he tells me stories where we’re the main characters.

One of my favorite stories, I’ve asked him to share with you. It’s one I’ll forever ask him to tell me and to always tell even to the future beings we create.481316_10151798797420317_2096161877_n

I remember the first time Amanda and I hung out. We were both in an internship at our church. While we had met before, during the summer part of that internship I had chatted more with her throughout our daily tasks at the church. Through this, I discovered we both had a mutual interest in bikes. I didn’t really know too much about them, but my dad had taught me the basics of working on them. When she told me she needed to get her bike fixed, I was more than happy to help. Earlier that day we were both serving at a youth conference at our church, and when we finished at about lunchtime I offered to go take a look at her bike. I arrived at her condo, and to be truthful I felt a little bit uncomfortable; I always do when I’m at someone else’s place of living. I’m bad at being a guest. I went and I looked at her bike, but seeing as this was a completely unplanned appointment I had no tools with me. In retrospect it was probably kind of pointless for me to even go over there in the first place. Anyways, what was going to be a quick visit to check out her bike resulted in us hanging out. We did a lot of talking, a lot of sharing about life experiences. To be honest I don’t really remember what I said – I seldom do – but I do remember one moment very vividly. We were sitting in her dining room on opposite sides of the table (true to form of two people still uncomfortable around each other). And then I looked at her, and I made eye contact. In that moment, with her holding a glass of water in one hand, and leaning on the other – as she listened to me blabber on about something probably stupid – I remember a very distinct internal impression. The thought went through my head, “This is her.” I knew what that meant immediately, but I kind of pigeonholed it because at that time I wasn’t really prepared to deal with the implications. I had just met the lady (not woman, she doesn’t want to be a grown up) that I was created for. I can honestly say, I doubted that a couple times as she frequently showed frustrations at my pursuit of her. Here and now, though, I have no regret of that pursuit and no reservations from moving forward (if the ring didn’t give that away).

A few months back Jared had asked me to start looking at engagement rings to see what kind of style I liked. It was overwhelming and I had no idea what I was looking for. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a princess cut. I knew there was silver and gold and round and square. I didn’t like doing it and I hated looking at all the prices. Oh and I also didn’t know that an engagement ring is different than a wedding ring. Once I found that out I was very upset that I had to pick out TWO rings! I told Jared I didn’t care at that point what it looked like.

Yesterday I shared with you how I made this semi crazy list of my expectations of who my husband was. (If you missed it click here.) On my list was one that was very dear to my heart. It reads, “Bring a beautiful mother-in-law to me.” I am very close to my mother and for my age group she is a little bit older. She had me when she was 42 so in the back of my mind I had this fear she wouldn’t be there for the times I needed her most as an adult. You know sometimes, it’s the mom who tells you the secrets of walking in heels or what if there is a secret way only moms know how to change a diaper? I know this is selfish to want considering not everyone has a mother still or their mother isn’t as lovely as mine. So when I met Jared I would constantly ask about his parents. I know this doesn’t hold true for everyone but I truly believe good character often comes from good parenting.

I met Jared’s parents over hibachi in¬†February¬†of last year. Even though I denied and resisted the idea of marriage I was excited to know I might possibly walk into a well rounded family who loves God. After I had told Jared that I didn’t want to look for rings anymore he told me that a couple of months before both of his parents offered for him to have his mother’s engagement ring. He asked if I’d be interested in that. Uh.. hello.. YES! I didn’t care what it looked like as long as I could share the story it held.DSC_0478Whether you think it’s pretty or not, it’s lovely because I have a story for you. I love things with meaning. In the past 9 months Jared’s mom has had 8 surgeries on her brain. I won’t go into detail of everything that this family has gone through but because of this this ring is something I’ll forever hold close to my heart. When Jared told me both his dad and mother suggested this ring for me there was an immediate sense of honor I felt. It was a feeling I had never felt before especially for a piece of¬†jewelry.

8 brain surgeries is difficult and I often questioned God about my list. I felt as if he had promised me a mother in law. I felt like God told me no matter what happens to her I did receive a wonderful Mother-in-law and Jared proves that I will. The way he carries himself and treats other people shows that someone raised him right. I commend both of his parents.

We went to see his mom a couple of days ago and I was able to tell her how appreciative I was that she thought I was a good fit to share this ring with her. I thanked her and told her how beautiful it was and how excited I was for my very first family heirloom. I can’t picture giving birth to a human being but when I do I will share the legacy and meaning this ring holds.

Do you have a very special ring?

Thank you for letting me open my heart up to you.


Saying Something Clever

Amanda saying something clever

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Devon Stiles

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