recipes

A Thankful Thanksgiving

Hello from Pleasanton, California! (and it sure is pleasant)

I have everything to be thankful for this year. I am especially grateful that I get to spend my Thanksgiving with my family in California. I have never been on a family vacation before with my parents that I can remember. Twenty-three years later, we are taking one of our first family vacations. Although, later is better than never! I am so grateful to finally have the chance to spend a week with my family and also my cousins, my Aunt, and my Uncle.

Aside from family time, I am so blessed to have such an amazing support system behind me. My boyfriend and my friends are my backbone. I am so grateful to have an awesome circle of friends to laugh with and lean on when I need it. My boyfriend is my bestfriend and my rock. I am not sure where I would be without his continuous support and encouragement! Thank you <3

This year I have definitely noticed growth within myself and my business. AMA Designs was always something I did "on the side" but finally I have launched my business full-time and pursuing my passion. Starting is always difficult. I have realized as long as I keep taking that step forward each day, I can accomplish my dreams. After all, success is a series of small wins and small wins are better than none at all. I am so thankful for all my experiences so far and I cannot wait to see what the future holds!

I am also thankful for all of you!!!! YES, YOU READING THIS! <3 Without you, AMA Designs would nonexistent. Thank you for reading and I appreciate all your feedback. I love hearing from you. It truly brightens my day! I hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving.

Sending all my love!!! - Amanda

From my Notepad ... To Reality

20140806-004211-2531306.jpg To you, this may be just an empty room. Well, it is.

However to me, it means so much more than an empty space. I love this profession because my visions become reality. There is nothing more gratifying then seeing your sketches come to life !

This may be just an empty room but the stages to get to this point were bumpy! It's rewarding to see progress and comforting to know that we are only a few steps away from completion !!

I am so excited to share with you all! Plus, I hand painted artwork specially for this space!! :)

For progress pictures, visit the "Portfolio" Tab to view more of this project.

Have an amazing day!

Design Adventures with AMA!

Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I went to NYC to visit the new Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. I don't think he was nearly as excited as I was --- but I sure enjoyed it! I appreciate historical architecture and all forms of design.

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I literally jumped when I saw Van Gogh's "Starry Nights" in person along with some other pieces that I only saw from textbooks. There were also a few other paintings that caught my eye on the contemporary floor.

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This painting for example struck me. I love the texture and how all the bold colors blend together. After the museum, we stopped at Charrito's in Weehawken for lunch. We enjoyed authentic Mexican cuisine and homemade sangria while admiring the NYC skyline.

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My art adventures didn't stop here. Later on during the week, I went to Pinot's Palette in Montclair for a painting class with a few friends. It was a two hour class and I can't nearly explain how much fun it was. I have never laughed so much in one night! Even if you are not an artist - the instructer takes you step by step and will help you if you mess up.

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While browsing for some inspiration, I discovered the gorgeous earthscapes by Andres Amador. Andres creates massive drawings on beaches during low-tide. If you haven't seen his work - check out his website.

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After an exciting week of being surrounded by art and design, it has influenced me to get working on some projects this weekend. Maybe you'll see a new painting from me coming soon? hmmmm.....

 

 

Room Transformation: Baby Bedroom to a Teen's Dream

Once a young girl, this bedroom was well-loved. Now in her teenaged years and embarassed to have her friends over; it was time for a make-over! Clearly out grown her doll wallpaper-border, the pink walls, and the stuffed animals - this room transformation was well over due. With my design advice and a few tweaks - we were on the path to this teen's dream bedroom. A spot where she envisioned her friends coming over to hang out or staying the night for midnight snacks and gossip.

For this make over, I decided to keep the original furniture because it was such great quality. The furniture was constructed well and the paint looked brand new. Instead of new furniture, I updated the dresser and nightstand with new acrylic knobs.

With the money we saved from purchasing a new bedroom set, we spent it towards new wall paper and paint. The accessories and shag rug were from Home Goods. The curtain panels and bedding were from Target. The white tufted futton was from Walmart.

There you have it! This room is complete! What do you think of the transformation?

 

Before

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After

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Restaurant Transformation: From Cold to Inviting!

Jaimito's Restaurant located in Clifton, NJ was in need of an update. The owner wanted to make the restaurant feel more inviting for diners at night. With a few quick switches and my help; the restaurant is cozy and more romantic. For the project, I switched out the flourescent lighting and added drum pendants. I cannot stress enough how important the right choice of lighting is. By simply switching out the flourescents, the mood of the room is instantly more romantic and cozy.

I also painted the walls with a fresh coat of paint to bring out the colors in the existing tile. It's funny how the customers recognized the flooring after the new paint color was up. Everyone was asking "Is this new floor?!" Nope, by choosing the right paint color, the room is now more cohesive. I kept the room light because it is small and gets indirect sunlight. I didn't want to make the room feel smaller than it is.

I also added window treatments to soften up the harsh structural beams. I grouped the panels together in the middle to hide the beam in the center of the window.

I also picked out cherry wood furniture for the new restaurant table and chairs. The existing tile had a rust undertone and I thought the cherry wood would be nice to warm up the space. The cherry wood also compliments the darker gray in the tile and the soft gray walls.

For the round tables in front of the windows, I made center pieces that reflect the owner's personal style and culture. I also picked up candles and candle holders for each table.

I also updated the bathroom, by keeping the existing floor tile and retiling the walls. I added a new vanity and a fresh coat of paint. Not too much done - but made a huge difference!

To see the before images goto my portfolio page and also view other projects I have worked on.

Jaimito's Restaurant Before Images

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A "Lovely" Interior for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is in a few short days! If you haven't thought about decorating yet, get ready! I'm here with few quick decorating tips when your on the fly! Plus, I have an easy dessert planned for you too! Can't forget the sweets :) Decorate in main areas, especially near the entry so you can surprise your honey when they come home :) I like to hang a Valentine's Day wreath on the front door.

Light a few red candles on a decorative tray or charger. Fill clear jars with Valentine's Day sweets such as m&m's, jelly beans, red hots, or even conversation hearts. It is a great way to add color to your table or mantle.

For a more sophisticated look, place faux branches of red berries in a vase for some color. You can add these nearly anywhere: an entry table, mantle, or use a center piece for your dining room table.

Speaking of dining tables, it is time to create a romantic place setting. Add a table runner, candle sticks, and a floral arrangement in the center to balance. Add red ribbon around the head chairs and sprinkle a few rose petals on the table for an extra touch.

For dessert, pick up strawberries and some chocolate chips to make Valentine's Day Sweet Heart Cabobs. Slice the strawberries into hearts by cutting out a triangle at top-middle. Melt your chocolate chips and dunk your strawberries slices in the chocolate. Slide the heart-shaped slices onto the cob, arrange on  a plate, and your done!

Don't have enough time to run to the store? Make some hot cocoa and use a heart-shaped cookie cutter (or knife gently) to poke out a heart in a large marshmellow.

Enjoy your Valentine's Day with your loved ones everyone!

Much love,

Amanda

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So long for now Vermont!

Good morning from Stowe, Vermont! It is my final day here and although it rained yesterday, I enjoyed my stay with my boyfriend. Before we leave, we are heading to Stowe Mountain to snowboard. Hopefully the conditions are much better than yesterday!! It's snowing this morning so I am anxious to get on the mountain on fresh powder. We arrived Friday to the Stowehof Inn & Resort. The resort was featured in the 1981 film, "The Four Seasons". The interior is cozy and warm. There are two fireplaces in the community living room. Another fireplace in the restaurant and another in the pub. Plenty of spots to snuggle up and warm up by the fire with gorgeous snow top mountain views. Not to mention, unlimited tea and hot cocoa (my fave).

Friday night, we went downstairs to the pub for dinner. The atmosphere was inviting. I ordered the baked Mac and cheese, which was fantastic. After a long drive, it definitely was comforting. My boyfriend ordered the Stowehof burger and fries - delish!

On Saturday it rained so we cancelled our snowboarding plans. We hung out at the resort by the fireplace and a bottle of wine. We later grabbed lunch at Yoshi Sushi. Which was very close to the resort and had fresh, amazing sushi. That evening we had dinner at the resort and enjoyed a beautiful meal by the fireplace.

I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Stowehof Inn and all our meals. I look forward to coming back again.

But for now, it is time to head back to New Jersey, a six hour car ride listening to the same songs over and over again.

So long for now Vermont!

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2014 Color of the Year

Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you all a year filled with an abundance of happiness, love, laughter, health, and prosperity!! Hope you all enjoyed celebrating. Now that you have recovered, I thought it would be nice to highlight radiant orchid, Pantones 2014 Color of the Year. I am so happy this color has blossomed into the new year and perfect timing too ! Some of you may have took down your holiday decorations and now your home is lacking a bit of cheer :( . Radiant orchid will surely liven up any space whether in small doses or an entire room!

Pair with neutrals or even deep tones like navy or charcoal. Incorporate orchid in accessories, art, pillows, and other decor. If your feeling daring, paint a wall with this vivid color.

What are your thoughts on this bold hue? Comment below and share! :)

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