Summer fashion

May 30
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I know I have never shared fashion posts before, but I’d like to start.  Let me know what you think.

I wanted to share with you today a few new summer pieces I have added to my wardrobe.  Every year I like to grab a few new items to spruce up my closet for the warmer months.  Because of the heat in Florida I like to wear dresses as much as possible in the summer.

First up is this super cute sundress from Old Navy.  I love the light linen feel and the classic styling.  I purchased this dress for the Orlando Fringe Festival a few weeks ago and I know it will be on constant rotation over the summer.

I saw my friend Sarah wearing a cute hat a few weeks ago and I was inspired to add one to my wardrobe.  I found this one at Charming Charlie’s and it goes perfectly with my pink Banana Republic top (similar) and Kate Spade bag (similar). I wore these with some Khaki Bermudas. (Similar)
Last up is this pair of sandals from Target.  I spent all last summer finding my holy grail sandals and when I found these I knew my search was done.  I like dark sandals that are a little more than just a thong but not a full on gladiator sandal. Anyways, I wore my pair all summer, fall and sometimes in the winter and now they are starting to get a little worn. (They were only $20 at target!) I was so happy to see them again on the Target Website. This year I ordered two pairs so that I would be good to go for this summer and on.

Lastly one of my summer staples is my Ray-Bans.  I have both aviators and a wayfarer style.  I actually prefer these as they fit me better than traditional wayfarers but that is just my opinion.

Also, I want to leave you with one of the most important summer essentials: sunscreen.

This is my favorite facial moisturizer and sunscreen.


Have you purchased any new items for summer?  What did you get and why?



Please note: This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small commission of any sales made from these link.  This will not cost you a thing and goes to help support the maintenance of this site.  Thanks.


Patriotic Planner Stickers

May 27
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I designed this patriotic sticker set a month ago and then totally forgot to make the silhouette file and release it.  I think it would be perfect for Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, or Labor day.

This printable is designed for sticker paper you can print onto regular paper as well. I generally provide a silhouette file as well, but I am currently dealing with computer issues and don’t have access to that program. (Hopefully I will fix it or just get a new Macbook when they come out next month.) Anyways, I will update this post when I have made that file.

patriotic planner stickers (1)Click the image below to be taken to the full size image.  Print and cut.


Looking for sticker paper?  I buy this one from  Amazon.
I cut my stickers with a Silhouette Cameo electric cutting machine.
On a budget?  Try the Gyro-cut to cut your stickers.

Looking for more?  Check out my archive of free printables.

If you post a photo of your planer with these stickers on Insagram please tag me!  I’m @_amberdowns

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission.  This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free.Anyways, enough talk, here is the printable.  Enjoy!



How to get the most out of Amazon Prime

May 25
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How to get the most out of your

Hey guys, I wanted to put together a quick post about Amazon Prime.  I am always running into people who are not aware of what all the membership, which most of the already have, entails them to!  Anyways, I have had Prime off and on for the last 6 years and I have to say, the benefits are better than ever.


Free shipping-This one is a no-brainer; everyone knows Amazon Prime includes free shipping, but I’d be remiss to not mention it here.


No- Rush Shipping This is one of my favorite features.  I order a lot on Amazon, but I only need half of the products right away. If I don’t need the product ASAP I selection no-rush shipping at checkout.  Be selecting this option Amazon will give me a credit. Usually its $1 towards ebooks, digital TV or digital TV/movies.  Sometimes it is a $2 digital content credit, and sometimes it is a $5.99 prime pantry credit. (More on that later.)


Amazon Prime Same Day This is a newer feature and is available in 27 metro areas.  See if your area is available by checking your zip code here.  Items ordered before noon will arrive by 9pm.


Amazon Prime NOW- Another new service, Amazon Now delivers products to your home within one or two hours.  Again, this service is only limited to limited metro areas,  When we begin the process of purchasing our next home you’d better bet I will be checking their service area. Just think, I could order a few items before work and have them delivered before I get home.  I will do anything to avoid a trip to the store.  Time is money.


Amazon Music -Amazon music is basically Spotify included for free with your account.  This means you can search for, listen to, and download music to your computer, phone, or tablet for no additional cost.  Although not every artist or album are included, many are.  Really want an album that isn’t available for free?  Use the no-rush credits that you have saved up to purchase it!  Also, you can import your own music to Amazon for your own personal use which you can stream from the cloud or download onto any device.  I have the amazon music app on my phone so I can download songs to listen to in the car without having to use my data plan.


Amazon cloud storage– Although I haven’t gotten the chance to play with this feature, I am trilled that Amazon offers free cloud storage. Prime members get free unlimited photo storage as well as 5GB of stores for videos and files.  This is great for people on the go who need to access files from multiple computers.  I can see myself using this to store files for work that I want to look at at home.


Prime Pantry- This is Amazon’s answer to grocery delivery services.  Prime Pantry allows you to order general items you’d purchase at a drug or grocery store with delivery to your home in five days.  These products do come with a $5.99 per box delivery fee.  Because of the delivery cost I have only used this service a few times, but it is efficient and the prices are competitive.  There is usually a free shipping promotion available if you buy five of a group or products, keep an eye out.


Prime Video– Amazon Prime Video is a streaming tv/movie service similar to Netflix and Hulu.  Amazon carries popular shows and movies along with their own original content. We use the Fire TV Stick to watch the content on our television.  My favorite part of this service is that if we have a movie we’d like to watch that is not available for free we can purchase or rent the title.  This is great for newer movies or random TV episodes.  I used my no-rush credits so these purchases are free.


I hope this little post helped give you an idea about all the awesome things you can do with your prime account.  I know for me the value is great. What do you think?



Planner pen test

May 20
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Planner Pen TEST

For a long time I’ve just been the type of person who grabs whatever pen is the closest.  Yes, I like good pens, but usually I just need something now and grab what I see.  Recently I have been inspired by other planners to branch out and try new pens and see if I have a favorite.  Last weekend I did just that.  I ordered a bunch of pens and went to town seeing how they work.  Being more of a left brain type person I figured the best option was to write them all down on the same sheet of paper to see the differences, very much like an elementary school science project.  I also have been wanting to write on washi more so I placed a few common strips of washi on my page to test the pens there as well.  For this experiment I tested five types of pens: Paper Mate Medium Flair pens, Paper Mate Ultra Fine Flair pens, Sharpie Ultra Fine maker, Staedtler Fineliner pens, and Paper Mate Ink Joy 1.0 mm pens.

A note on the washi I tested: As you can see from the photo I tested four types of washi tape.  From this experiment I can say that the Michaels Recollections washi is totally my favorite. It takes the pens the best with little smearing.  The Scotch Expressions washi (Alphabet) was the worst.  It was more shiny and did not work well with most pens.  I will avoid buying this brand in the future.

Here are my thoughts on the pens:

Paper Mate Flair: These pens are mentioned a lot in the planning community so I kind of assumed they would be great.  Although they are good pens, they are a bit too thick for me.  Maybe they’d be great for lettering and writing large words, but not for lists or other daily work.  I’ll keep them around but they couldn’t be a daily user. They wrote well on the washi so this could be another use for them.

Paper Mate flair ultra fine: These pens might be my favorite.  They are a felt tip pen (so don’t press to hard) but give a nice thin line.  They look like a thicker marker which might be deceiving, but they are not.  They wrote smooth and could totally be a daily writer.  They worked on the washi, but took a long time to dry.  I’d have to be very careful and patient not to smear.

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 0.3 mm These look more like the type of pens I am used to so I figured they would work well. They have a cute little plastic case that I see many planners use.  Personally I can’t see myself keeping all the pens in the case, I am just not that type of person, but if you are that is awesome.  These pens call themselves a Porous Tip pen.  They write similar to the Paper Mate ultra fine pens but felt much more dainty, like if I push a little they might break.  They wrote well on the washi if I let them sit a bit, again working on that patience.  I love that they would fit in the pen loops in my planners.

Paper Mate Ink Joy M 300RT: I have been using these pens off and on for a little white now, they are ballpoint (these are the only ballpoint I tested today.) and therefore are more traditional than the other pens we used.  What is nice is they are super affordable so they fit in any budget and come in the fun colors.  If you are just starting out in pens this is a good place to start. Personally I fink the ink a little thick but they work fine for the price.

Sharpie Ultra Fine: I am familiar with these pens as I have them at work but I had never used them in my planner or with washi so i grabbed a pack.  They were too thick to use regularly in my planner, and they were the only pen to show any ghosting (the ink showing through the back of the paper.) They worked great on the washi though, so I will keep that in mind.

Overall I am glad I did this test.  I realized that I was not a fan of the Scotch Expressions washi and I got a few for a few types of pens.  I will stick a few of these in my bag and at my desk and see where we go from there.

I hope tat this was helpful to you.  Do you have  a favorite pen?  Did I test it?  Tell me below!


-Amber Downs
Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link on this page I will receive a small commission from the store. This does not change the cost to you, in fact, I search for the best prices to share with you. Any income earned via these links is used to support upkeep on this page. My printables are free.


Moving supplies checklist and free printable box labels

May 18
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Moving supplies checklist and free printable box labels (1)

Due to a relocation for work  we have decided to sell our little pink house.  We love this house, but it is just too far away from everything.  We are super excited for the new house, but are dreading the moving process.  It seems in the three years we’ve been here our possessions have multiplied. Anyways, we have just begun the packing process and I went ahead and put together some box labels and figured I’d share them with you all.  Also, I am sharing links to a few moving supplies I am using. I don’t have alot of time to waste running around finding moving supplies so I just went to Amazon and ordered picked out the most useful (and budget friendly) moving supplies.

Moving boxes
Yes, you can scrounge around and find boxes from work, friends, and the grocery store, but  being that I’m short on time I went ahead and grabbed this set.  20 medium boxes for $40 is perfect.

Bubble wrap
I was recently gifted dishes from a family member and I am scared to death of breaking them so for $15  I was able to get a ton of bubble wrap to secure them tightly.  peace of mind is worth it.

6 pack tape with dispenser
I swear most of my time actually packing boxes is wasted looking for tape.  This time I went ahead and grabbed 6 rolls of tape (with dispensers) so I’ll never have to run around looking for the one roll of tape again.

Mattress cover
Want to keep your mattress nice? We purchased a new mattress about a year ago and I want to keep it nice during the move.  I went ahead and grabbed these mattress covers to protect it from dirty hands and trucks.

TV moving box
Have a nice TV?  Consider investing in a box to move it.  I have heard many horror stories about newer flat screen tvs being dropped and broken.  Hopefully one of these nice padded boxes will prevent mine from an accident.  They come in multiple sizes for every TV.

Have kids?  Grab this little book on moving to help explain the process to them  The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day


Below is the link to the PDF file of the moving labels. I printed these on sticker paper and then cut them out and stuck them on the boxes.  I made four of each room, but feel free to print more of what you need.  Don’t forget to number the boxes to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Moving Labels


Favorite planner stickers

May 15
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Free Printable Planner Stickers (1)
I wanted to put together a set of my most loved and used stickers. These are ones I like to use regularly and I think are a good core collection (for me at least.)  I am going to be putting together similar sets in the near future, so if you have requests let me know.  I will get back into weekly kit style stickers at some point though, don’t worry.

This printable is designed for sticker paper you can print onto regular paper as well. As always, I have provided this printable in both PDF form as well as a Silhouette file for those with Silhouette machines.  Silhouette owners- download the file and open it with the silhouette software.  The cut lines will be ready to go.  Be sure to check your blade settings! Download the Silhouette file HERE.


favorites (2)

Click the image below to be taken to the full size image.  Print and cut.


Looking for sticker paper?  I buy this one from  Amazon.
I cut my stickers with a Silhouette Cameo electric cutting machine.
On a budget?  Try the Gyro-cut to cut your stickers.

Looking for more?  Check out my archive of free printables.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission.  This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. All printables are free.Anyways, enough talk, here is the printable.  Enjoy!



What I read April 2016

May 14
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Copy of March Favorites (1)

I want to try and share more books here so I figured the best way to start would be by just telling y’all about the books I read each month.  This is the second year I have participated in the Goodreads Challenge.   Last year I challenged myself to read 35 books and I ended up reading 56.  This year I am challenging myself to 50 books.  So far I have completed 16.

I read a variety of books and genres so what you see here one month could be totally different from the next.  This month I read a lot of popular adult fiction, but next month I have a few self-help type books and teen books lined up.  Have a book you think  I’d like?  Let me know. Comment below or email me.  (

Anyways, on to the books!

The passenger by Lisa Lutz

The suggestion for this book came from a Facebook group I’m in.  It was suggested for those who enjoyed The Girl on the Train.  Although it wasn’t as good as The Girl on the Train, it was still a very good read.  I enjoyed the story as well as the twists and turns.  This is a fast paced read with enough action to keep you interested and only a little romance.

This book is about a girl who finds herself running from a crime she did not commit and finding herself in a constant struggle to become someone new while also dealing with a checkered past.


Me before You by Mojo Moyes

Me before you has been a popular title for a few months now and will be released as a movie on June 3rd.  (I am still on the fence about it.)  This story follows a girl who lands a job as a caregiver for a quadriplegic  who has lost the will to live. This is romance, tear jerker, and a great piece of insight into life as or with a quadriplegic.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I’ve been a Rainbow Rowell fan ever since I read Eleanor & Park in early 2013.  Although she writes both Adult and YA titles I generally have enjoyed her YA titles better.  Although this isn’t my favorite book by her, i still enjoyed it. The novel is about a woman who is a writer for television and has lost the connection with her husband.  The couple find themselves staying at their respective parents’ homes for the holidays and only communicate via the phones they used as young adults.  Although this book is a little slow, the surprising twists keep me interested until the end.

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

After hearing about her books from multiple people I read my first Colleen Hoover book (Confess) in April. Although her books are a little more on the romance side than what I usually read, I really do like her books.  Colleen Hoover (CoHo) is what they call a New Adult author.  Her books are geared at twenty-somethings, or those of us who wish we were.  They. deal with life and relationships in the real world.  November 9 is the story of a girl who is trying to do what she can to get away from the event that changed her life only to find it is still very close to her.

I loved this book.  It, along with Confess, are are type of books you don’t put down until you are finished.  I read them on my Kindle and only stopped to charge the tablet.  (First world problems.)  The book was emotional, and intense but was a great way to step away and get completely wrapped up in a book.

Anyhoo, I hope at least one of these sounds good to you.  What did you read in April?  Share below!

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from the sale of items purchased via the links on this page. This helps to cover the cost of hosting and running this page. All opinions and reviews are my own.

April Favorites

May 11
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March Favorites (2)


I know this post is a little late, but I just wanted to share with you a few of my current favorite things.



Food-: Sprouted grain bread
My parents started the Whole 30 diet in April.  One day I came over and was hungry; my lovely mother offered to make me a sandwich and being that that sprouted grain bread was the only bread option on the diet, she made me sandwich with it.  Sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel Bread, is made with grains that have already sprouted.  This is beneficial because the resulting bread is low in sugar and high in fiber and protein.  The bread is generally lower in carbohydrates and easier to digest for people with gluten sensitivities.  (NOT gluten intolerance.)   Best of all, it tastes good!  I have started purchasing this type of bread for my own personal use. It stores best in the freezer which is great as I don;t need to worry about finishing the loaf before it goes bad.

App: Later
Later is a great app for Istagramers with a business account. Instagram does not currently allow you to schedule posts for later so Later is a way to create a post with a caption and pick when you want to post it.  The app then sends you a reminder alert at that time and walks you through posting the photo and caption at the appropriate time.

Book: Me Before You
I went ahead and joined the bandwagon and listened to Me Before You by JoJo Moyes on audiobook in April.  I was able to download the audiobook on the Overdrive app for free via my library.  What was nice was that the app allows you to listen to books at different speeds.  I found that for this book 1.6x was the perfect speed and allowed me to cut the read time down which was nice.  (I am horribly impatient.)  The book is a sad one, but is a great story about disabilities and how life if like for those with them and their loved ones.


Beauty: Lights, camera, lashes™ precision  eyeliner

I recently got lights, camera, lashes™ precision eyeliner by Tarte in a gift kit I purchased and I am liking it.  I am the worst with eyeliner so I haven’t even been wearing it much lately.  This eyeliner is the “marker style,” so it is felt tip and easy to apply.  The tip is super fine but still easy to apply. I have been using it for a few days now and I am really enjoying the smooth line and how simple it is to apply.

TV:  Under the Dome
I know this isn’t a new show (or book) but after I finished 11/22/63 on Hulu I started watching Under the Dome as it is also based on a Stephen King novel.  Under the Dome is free to watch for Amazon Prime members.  (Not a Prime member? Click here for a free thirty day trial.) Anyways, I am only a few episodes in and I like it.  I haven’t read the book, but now I kinda want to.  We will see how I like the show after the first episode.  The show is about a small town which finds itself under a huge clear dome.  The citizens are left with whoever in under the dome so families as well as town government are in an upheaval.  .


Thats all for my April favorites.  Have you tried any of these?  What did you think?  Do you have any favorites from April? Share in the comments!

Look for my book post next week about everything I read in April.  It was a good book month around here.


Cleaning Converse and Vans shoes

May 2
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How to wash and clean Converse and Vans shoes.  Wash your favorite shoes in the washing machine quickly and easily.

 FYI: The yellow Vans are from a limited edition collaboration with Liberty Art Fabrics from Spring 2015. 

So i’ve been wearing converse and vans for over 15 years now, but had never really considered washing them. As a teen and young adult pristinely clean shoes were not  popular or needed, so when super bright converse became popular I realized I’d need to figure out how to clean mine.

I watched a few Youtube videos on the subject and they all seemed to have way too many steps and more work than I’d want to do.  I thought back to my childhood and remembered that when our sneakers got dirty we’d just toss them in the washing machine.  Anyways, I figured what the heck, I’ll toss mine in the washer and see what happens.


I went ahead and grabbed my gray Converse and printed Vans and pulled out the laces.  I then tossed them in the washer with some Tide and turned it to a small sized cycle.  After the load was finished I went took the shoes out and set them outside in the sun to dry.

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I washed the laces with my white laundry.  They still have a few stains on them, but I was able to lace the shoes up so that the stains were covered. In these case I was able to still use the same laces, but if they were any worse, (as they most likely will be at the end of summer) I will just go ahead and replace them.  These ones on Amazon seem good.  Check the length of your laces before ordering so you get the right size.

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After the shoes dried I replaced them and they were good to go.  I was very happy with how the printed vans turned out. I was worried about the possibility of fading or bleeding but it was great.