Dear other half: Come back.

Amanda moved to my town when we were in fourth grade. Who knows what makes a friendship “stick” at 10 years old? But it was as if she was always there, a girl with a dorky personality just like mine who would become a monumentally important presence in my life. My other half. We were attached at the hip from day one.


I might not remember the moment when we first met, but there have been countless unforgettable times together in the 29 years since then. And this weekend, we added a thick chapter to the book of “Amber and Amanda” memories.

My stomach is sore from laughter.

With two young daughters and a busy household/work schedule, a 4-night trip to Utah isn’t easy for Amanda- so I wanted to make it extra special. Attempting to take my own advice, I had a loose itinerary in mind as a starting point and we’d go where the weekend led us. First up was a Sundance film, directly from the airport!

IMG_9387 IMG_9310 IMG_9389IMG_9311

On Friday, I let Amanda sleep late (a rare treat for her). We hit the High West Distillery for lunch and a Dead Man’s Boots before our next film, our eyes peeled for any remaining stars wandering Main Street. We spent happy hour at the No Name Saloon, heading home to join John and two dear friends (also staying with us) for a scrumptious meal at the Silver Star Café. I love bringing friends to my favorite spot! The evening ended with the Michael Jackson Pandora station and an impromptu dance party and moonwalking showdown.

IMG_9312 IMG_9317 IMG_9313 IMG_9316 IMG_9318 IMG_9390IMG_9325 IMG_9319 IMG_9324 IMG_9326

On Saturday, the boys went for a ski tour while we ladies nursed our sore dancing muscles (and possibly a headache or two). My favorite cure for a too-late night is fresh mountain air, so Cholula and I showed Amanda one of our favorite hikes. A couple of miles on a snowy trail under a pine tree canopy together rejuvenated us. Seeing the wonder in Amanda’s face at an area I spend a lot of time in reminded me that I live in a beautiful placeI can’t take it for granted!

IMG_9330 IMG_9332 IMG_9337 IMG_9339 IMG_9342 IMG_9344

Years ago, when I first moved away from California, Amanda visited me in Colorado. We went sledding (in our jeans) and still remember laughing until we cried. So of course we had to hit our local sledding hill! Guess what? We laughed until we cried!

IMG_9351 IMG_9355 IMG_9403 IMG_9356 IMG_9365IMG_9391

After squealing and spinning down the hill on inner-tubes for an hour and a half, Amanda treated us to a delectable pasta dinner (I played sous chef) before our last Sundance film. I just love cooking with her!

IMG_9401 IMG_9398 IMG_9366 IMG_9368 IMG_9369 IMG_9372

On Sunday, I’d planned a surprise for Amanda: a trip to the day spa. She’s someone who rarely treats herself to indulgences, and I had some gift cards saved up at the Kura Door in Salt Lake City. After ninety minute massages, we got our feet prettied up, chatting away about anything and everything. It wasn’t the first time during her visit that I made a desperate wish that someday, we’ll live closer to each other.

IMG_9376 IMG_9377 IMG_9378

On a whim, I’d asked Amanda a couple weeks before her trip if she wanted to host a little girls’ night for the Grammys. After our heavenly time at the spa, we came home and did something we’d never done in 29 years of friendship: we hosted a party together. I made my spicy Asian wings. Amanda put together a surprisingly easy peppadew pepper appetizer (drizzled with a balsamic glaze!) We put out some fabulous cheeses, fruit, shrimp cocktail, bruschetta, chips and guacamole- thankfully, the boys dove right in to help us get everything ready! But the star of the evening was a tequila-blackberry-rosemary miracle, courtesy of Amanda’s recipe collection. We named it Blackberry Bliss and it was a hit with the crew of nine ladies.

P1130194 P1130195 IMG_9379 IMG_9380 P1130196 P1130197

Just before the Grammys started, our friend, Ryan, added an unexpected treat to the party. He brought out piles of samples of his company’s organic herbal products: chemical-free sunscreen, tinted lip balms, and an all-purpose salve called All Good Goop (my favorite!). The girls swarmed the samples like little piranhas. Everyone loves goodies!

P1130198 P1130199 P1130201 P1130203

After the awards show,  the ladies went home and we ended the evening watching sitcoms in Amanda’s bed, trying not to think about the fact that she was leaving in the morning. We’d done a lot during her visit. We’d Sundanced, star-stalked, happy-houred, moonwalked, snow-hiked, gone sledding, made delicious meals, and hosted a fun party.

And now our time was up.

IMG_9386 IMG_9413 IMG_9410

I tried to hold back my tears until after Amanda was inside the airport terminal, but my eyes betrayed me in our last photo. Our time together is never long enough…but we’ve got more adventures ahead of us.

There’s still plenty of room to fill in that book of “Amber and Amanda” memories.


Blackberry Bliss Cocktail (recipe via Better Homes)

For one cocktail, you’ll need:

  • 4 blackberries
  • 2 springs of fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons tequila
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 4 teaspoons simple syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • Additional blackberries and rosemary sprigs for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, combine blackberries and rosemary. To muddle, crush the berries and rosemary with the back of a spoon or with a muddler. Add tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup. Add the ice cubes, cover, and shake to combine. Pour into your glass and garnish with additional berries and rosemary. Clink glasses with your best friend- bottoms up! 

More yummy recipes like this one.

One year ago: I play hibernating bear and cook with what’s already in the pantry.


  1. this is so nice and looks like so much fun. My best friend and I met in 8th grade, went to college together, lived together, and still remain as close as ever. She currently lived in Manhattan and I live in Long Island so while the distance is a mere 50 minute train ride, finding time can be challenging. Still, I cherish our relationship so much and the fact that she and I can always pick up right where we left off.

  2. I so need to plan a Girl’s Getaway – been too long – in 3 different States, but have to make it work! Nothing better than a BFF and a friendship that lasts a lifetime:) Your post made me smile, laugh and of course cry – thanks so much for sharing. Makes me miss my girls. Happy Day!

  3. The wonderful bond that you both share is very much evident in the last photo where you are teary eyed!!!! awwww…. this is beautiful…… Hoping you get more together time in the coming days!! This post made my day in ways I cannot explain…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s