Amanda seems like the sort of person who is running through life with open arms, trying to take as much of it in as possible. Her day is a flurry of distinctly diverse activities and she seems to change hats on the hour, but she begins and ends with quiet intention, always. I love sharing people like her with all of you.
Welcome, Amanda! We can’t wait to follow you around today!
Good morning! My name is Amanda, and I’m excited to give you all a glimpse into my day! I’m a creative entrepreneur with my hands in several businesses, including interior design and jewelry design. Every day is filled with a mix of different activities, and the variety certainly keeps me on my toes.
I really enjoy slow mornings, and thankfully working for myself offers that freedom. I love it. My alarm is set for 8:00 am, but it generally takes me about 30 minutes to wake up if I have the luxury to take my time. (Snooze button, anyone?)
Every morning, I head straight to my cozy little chair looking out the balcony window to curl up and read through the day’s selection from my chronological Bible, and spend time in prayer and studying Scripture. I started this habit last year because I found myself reaching for my phone and scrolling before I even got out of bed, and I grew tired of email or Instagram being the first thing I digested.
I didn’t want my first thoughts of the day to be influenced by social media or work — I wanted my mind to be focused on weightier things. Prioritizing what I think about first in the morning totally sets a positive tone for the day, and it also gives me a filter for everything I think and do. The more of a habit it becomes, the more eager I have been to do it.
After spending time reading, I start getting dressed and ready for the day. I have extremely curly hair, but have created a routine that makes hair maintenance pretty easy. I absolutely love my curls and have never wished them away, but it took me a while to truly love them and know how best to care for them. There were some rough middle school days where I had bad bangs — didn’t we all?! — and other years I used a lot of gel to tame frizz. I really wanted ringlets that weren’t frizzy and struggled through my early 20s to get there. (Devacurl products are a lifesaver for me!) Once or twice a week I spend a little more time on my hair, but most mornings I simply touch up with water and moisturizer.
After I finish my morning routine, I head downstairs to rummage around for something to eat. I’m not always the best about having a stocked pantry. However, breakfast always includes coffee, which I always seem to have plenty of, in my stovetop Bialetti. I learned about this method on a trip to England a couple of years ago, and love the simple way it brews espresso strength coffee. At home, I brew whatever local coffee I have on hand.
I work in both Dallas and San Diego, and lately I’ve been inspired by my trips to California to make Acai Bowls for breakfast. I usually use Acai packets with blended frozen fruit, spinach, almond milk, and granola on top. Luckily, I have all of these ingredients on hand today.
While eating breakfast, I head to my home office to start combing through emails, clean out junk mail, and whatnot. Lately I’ve spent some of this time gathering inspiration online through travel and fashion photography blogs, too. I file away a few photos in Dropbox to get the creative juices flowing. I’ve found this is like thumbing through a magazine, but it’s just my own digital version — plus it’s less distracting for me than Pinterest!
My main job as a registered Interior Designer takes place in both Texas and California, but I’m also the owner and designer of Amanda K. Jewelry, where I take vintage pieces from Estate Sales and heirlooms and work them into handmade modern statement pieces. Both of these jobs keep me extremely busy and creative, which I love.
In my role as an interior designer, I work with Ashley Astleford, the principal designer and owner of Astleford Interiors, and I truly love my job. I began working for Ashley right out of college when I moved to Dallas. Her husband’s work took them to California a few years ago, so we now operate in both places.
My personal style, with interiors and with my jewelry line, has been significantly influenced by Ashley’s, which is a niche she has coined called Hacienda Chic. It’s a vibrant lifestyle inspired by Spanish and Mexican design and culture, and it filters through every part of her life, from the way she dresses to the tequila she drinks, down to the tile we select for a project.
I spend my days changing hats often, balancing these two businesses. Currently I’m working with a couple interior design clients whose projects are in the construction phase. I’m making floorplan revisions in CAD, space planning for two residential projects in Texas, plus a commercial space in Carlsbad, California.
One of these homes we’re designing is 11,000 square feet, and today I have to order samples of our tile and hard surface selections, and then enter the specifications and pricing into a budget sheet. As you can imagine, with that much square footage, I have a lot of hard surfaces to calculate!
Truth be told, I actually love the budget side of projects, which is surprising for a creative, right? This means I can play with all the numbers and organize things, keeping track of where we are. It’s the analytical left side of my brain that gets worked out, which is a great contrast for the creative side. These projects keep me busy at my desk for a good while, but at some point, I’m ready to get out of the house for a bit for a few errands.
The first stop is the bank. Since Astleford Interiors is a small company, I manage a bit of the administrative side of business as well, occasionally depositing a check at the bank, working on tech stuff for our email system and our Houzz account. I thrive on wearing many hats and not being tied down to one task, and the variety keeps it interesting.
I also stop by a local showroom to pick up some tile samples, and catch a quick glimpse of some new products. All these prints and patterns and colors are fuel for my creative soul.
My next stop is to meet a local jewelry client at one of my favorite coffee shops — the Pearl Cup — to bring a necklace she ordered. My jewelry is usually shipped — sometimes to places as far as Hawaii! — but occasionally I get the opportunity to hand-deliver my pieces, and I always enjoy that personal touch. The heart of my business is not just the jewelry, but the women that buy and wear my pieces.
Lunch time always looks different for me, and sometimes doesn’t even happen until 2:00 or 3:00 pm, if at all! Today, my sister, who lives in Houston and works at a corporate 9-to-5 job, gives me a call during her noon lunch break to chat. We’re three-and-a-half years apart, and although we’ve always been close, our friendship grew a lot after the year we overlapped at college together. She brightens my day with our sister-talk about plans for the weekend and general updates. I always enjoy the chance to catch up with her. We make efforts to keep in touch several times a week, and it’s a relationship that I treasure.
Not long after lunch, at the request of a customer, I end up setting up an impromptu private jewelry trunk show for her and her friend who was visiting the Dallas area. I set out all the jewelry on her dining room table, and we chat while they try on everything. Connecting with people is the part that I love the most about selling handmade jewelry. I truly enjoy talking with women about style and how it reflects what we believe about ourselves on the inside, and then encouraging them to be bold and courageous with their choices. We have a great time playing, but I also end up selling seven necklaces and four pairs of earrings!
On my way home from the trunk show, I stop by the grocery store to pick up a few things I need. Can I just say, I LOVE going shopping in the middle of the day! I do allow myself personal errands during the work day, simply because I don’t like going when it’s crowded.
For groceries, I typically bounce between Sprouts and Trader Joe’s, or occasionally a good Texas staple, Tom Thumb. These stores are all in my neighborhood, which makes errand running a little more convenient. I love buying flowers at Trader Joe’s for the house, so I treat myself to some tulips today. That’s the best place to do it, since it’s so inexpensive, and they always have great seasonal options.
Speaking of Trader Joe’s, I recently discovered their spiced hard cider over Christmas, and it is my new favorite. It is SO GOOD! My roommate and I have one in our fridge at all times. It’s great when we grill out, or with a crockpot black bean soup and rotisserie chicken and blue corn chips.
After I get home and get my groceries put away, I get back to work. Afternoons are often my peak work time, so I tend to get the most accomplished in those hours later in the day…while sipping on an iced coffee, of course! I have a custom bridal jewelry collection due to a bride soon, so I have to spend a bit of time in my jewelry studio — a spare bedroom in my townhouse — working on making her pieces. The actual process of making the jewelry by hand is quite therapeutic for me, and provides a nice creative and kinesthetic task after working in the numbers and budgets world all morning.
In addition to my work with Astleford Interiors and my jewelry line, I also take on an occasional private interior design client. While closing up the bracelet I just made, I suddenly remember I am supposed to send out an invoice to my current private client for design time, so as soon as I can switch tasks I hop over to take care of it before I forget. It’s times like these that I start to question my business systems in place, and whether or not I need more structure or better calendaring habits, or better work flow. As you can see, I have my hand in several different creative endeavors, which can sometimes be a little crazy, but I enjoy doing so many different things that it works at this point in my life!
I have learned in the past couple years that healthy boundaries between work and home have to be created and respected, and because I work from home and have the ability to work all the time, I have to be the one that upholds those boundaries for myself. I try to taper my work day off around 4:30 or 5:00 most days because my roommate Katie comes home after teaching middle school — she’s a saint! — and we often like to chat and recap our days at work while eating a snack.
I met Katie through a community group at our church in Dallas, and we have been friends and roommates for nearly six years now. She’s a huge source of encouragement for me, and might be one of the biggest fans of my jewelry business and all the design work that I do. She’s been known to selflessly sit and count thousands of tiny beads for inventory, help set up and be my trunk show sidekick, and just genuinely cares about my business. She’s also been known to buy stuff right off my table before anyone sees it! I am so grateful to have the support and encouragement offered by friends and family that are surrounding me and my businesses. Owning a business or working from home all the time can feel very lonely, so having this network of people around is crucial.
This evening I am running out to meet a friend for a walk around White Rock Lake to chat and catch the sunset. I love being intentional about scheduling one-on-one time with friends or my roommate to really dig into life together and keep each other accountable. I not only enjoy the community, but I also believe it is a healthier — and financially responsible! — option as a young single woman to do life with others. (It also teaches me to be more selfless and considerate of others, which is never a bad thing!)
I head home after my walk, so Katie and I can start preparing dinner. We’re having a couple of friends over to make fajitas, and even though we had planned to watch a movie after dinner, we end up talking the rest of the evening while we eat dessert!
My evenings are often spent with friends, at various church events with our young adults group, or if I’m at home, designing jewelry in my studio while watching Friends or Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
The end of my days usually unwind on their own. Because my work life is somewhat flexible, I stay up until midnight most nights, though it is usually spent doing something relaxing or quiet. When it’s time to get ready for bed, I slip on pajamas and wash my face with the Young Living Essential Oils Orange Blossom facial cleanser. To make the morning routine easier, I check the weather and pick out my outfit for the next day. I have found that even though I work from home, getting dressed and ready — jewelry and all! — makes me feel more productive, so I try to do this most days.
As I crawl into bed, I pull up the covers and prop the pillows for a bit of the same thing I started my day with: reading through some Scripture and prayer journaling. It has been a nice way to bookend my days, and though I know it won’t always be this easy to have this routine, I cherish it now.
I also relish in my falling into my own bed. I travel often, so I’m always grateful to sleep in my own bed. The last thoughts that cross my mind as I drift off are filled with anxiety for the future, questions of whether or not I will have enough work next week or next month, if I’m doing all I can do run my business wisely, if I should give back more to charitable causes, wondering where I’ll live or if I’ll get married at some point. But, I choose to cast off these worries and trust the Lord for another day and know that he’ll provide what I need, whatever that may be.
As I’ve mentioned, interacting with people is the BEST part of my day. I’d love to connect with you online!
Thank you so much, Amanda. It was so interesting to get a single woman’s perspective on the day-to-day goings on, and I especially love how intentional you are about surrounding yourself with others. Even for those of us surrounded by others at home — including all those asking when dinner will be ready! — it’s a good reminder to always extend ourselves a little farther than the day before. (Also, Hacienda Chic is absolutely enlivening, and I’m suddenly tempted to add terra cotta tiles and a turquoise wall to the Treehouse! Ha!)