Friday, June 23, 2017

Letter to My College Self

Dear College Amanda and all those heading to college at the end of summer,

It's been five years since you graduated undergrad and a full year now away from graduate school.  I have had some time to reflect on those times.  I have learned many lessons along the way.  While I don't regret anything because I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, there are definitely some things that I learned and wish I would have done differently.

Create a budget & stick to it.  Or better yet save money in an account that you block access from.  Paying off loans is no fun.  Plus once you graduate your car is going to break and you will have to buy a new one so add another monthly payment.  Rent anywhere else besides your college town is crazy expensive. Have fun but be mindful and disciplined with your money. I think this past year was the year that it really clicked for me, but I wish it were 7 years ago!

Go out with your friends.  Taco Tuesday.  Thursday night events.  Saturday afternoon adventures and tailgates.  Practice good time management and spend some daytime in the library to get your work done.  This is the time in your life that you will be closest to people.  Don't skip being around them, say yes to things with people.  The moments with friends will become your most cherished memories.

Learn to meal plan. Fast food is not your friend.  Prep food with some lovely fresh and healthy ingredients, your body will thank you.

Do what makes you happy. This lesson is the one I really wish I would have taken more advantage of.  I had a weird complex that I built up in college that revolved around other people and what they thought.  It's a difficult thing to break. I am still finding myself and what I love but I wish I would have jumped at more opportunities that my college campus offered that peaked my interest. Who knows if you try something that makes you happy and go alone you might meet some really great friends.

Be open. This is kind of a continuation of the previous.  Colleges are constantly having events and opportunities.  Go. Try something new.  Don't judge before you try.  These years are so formative, so be open to learning new things and trying something different.

Don't cling to people who don't bring positivity to your life.  I spent a lot of time on people who didn't serve me well.  I kept trying to make things work in various friendships and relationships and unfortunately suffered a lot from it.  I lost big pieces of myself in other people.  You will always find new people so don't be afraid to walk away from something that is bringing you down.

Go to church.  Better yet get involved with a campus Christian group.  Jesus is number one. Spend time with Him & like minded people.  Those will be the true friendships.

Journal. Writing is the one way that you truly figure out what you are thinking and feeling.  Invest in yourself.  Go to a fun coffee shop, bring your journal, sip a latte and reflect on this once in a life time experience.

Ask questions. This is your time to learn.  Don't be afraid to admit that you don't know something.  Try out various jobs and internships.  Learn learn learn and soak it all up.

Explore where you live.  Your college town is so much more than your campus.  There are actually people that live and work there year round.  They matter too.  Support local.  Learn about the towns history & people.  You will miss that life when you are gone.

Choose your girlfriends over that boy. Seriously.  He isn't worth it.  If you don't think you are good enough to ever find someone; stop that negative self talk right now!  You will find a fantastic guy.  BUT first you need to love yourself and spend time with your girls.  Boys will always come and go but if you choose them over your friends slowly the most cherished girlfriends will fade too.

Make sense of money. Do your research. Set some life and financial goals.  Remind yourself of those financial goals often, especially when debating spending some cash on something silly.  Invest in quality and your future.  Check out Earnest for refinancing student loan options while you are at it. Because wouldn't you rather have an extra 500 dollars in your pocket instead of paying off loans for the next 15 years of your life?

Make the most of it. College is seriously unlike anything else. It's difficult and challenging sure but it's also so much fun.  Be brave. Take risks.  Be present and enjoy this special time in your life.

What would you tell your college self?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Carolina Blue and City Views

Location: Charlotte, NC

Outfit Details: Top: Ivy & Leo [not online] | Pants: LC Lauren Conrad [old]  | Shoes: Target [old]

Happy Wednesday & summer solstice sweet friends. I am currently at the beach with my family.  This vacation has been so good for me thus far.  I have been waking up early and walking Finn then working out and spending the rest of my days on the beach in the sunshine.  I talked last week about staying healthy on vacation  and I am proud to say following my own advice has left me feeling so great.  I am proud of myself for making the time to be active, to pay attention to my nutrition, and ultimately practice self-care daily.

I can finally feel myself relax.  I have been talking about summer for so long it still doesn't seem real that it's now here.  I can say that I am loving the off the shoulder trend for summer.  I have been working on my arms and shoulders with tone it up and I can't wait to wear this beautiful shirt to show them off this summer.

I tend to gravitate toward blues because I feel like I look the best in them.  Every time I try to branch out and change it up a piece like this just jumps out at me and I have to get it.  This top is from my favorite local boutique in Charlotte called Ivy & Leo.  I am so excited to share with you guys that even though they are Carolina local boutiques they have an online shop and if you order anything from Ivy & Leo you can use the code AMANDA10 to get 10% off your purchase.  :)

What is your favorite summer trend right now?

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Day Full of Birthday Fun

Location: Two Scoops Creamery | Central Ave 

Details: Romper Hat | Necklace

Mike's birthday was this past week and since boys are incredibly hard to shop for I wanted to make the day really special. We spent the whole day together adventuring around Charlotte and it was perfect.

Our first stop; ice cream.  Because what is a birthday without a sweet treat.  It was the perfect day to go because Charlotte Five was having their voting for the best flavors at Two Scoops Creamery. It was so delicious but you definitely don't have to get two scoops even if it's the shops namesake. So much ice cream. Mike ended up eating almost all of mine because I just couldn't do it.

Next up: city views.  Mike has only been living here for a short time and I have just moved back to an ever evolving city so I am constantly on the lookout for ways to enjoy this place and explore.  Sometimes it's fun to just go to the top of a parking deck and take in the views.

Our final destination for the night: The Fillmore.  This was actually the first time I have been here. I got Miike Snow tickets for Mike's birthday. Mike loves music and has been to so many shows but that never really was my scene.  I couldn't help but think of LC in the Hills telling Audrina; "I would bob my head awkwardly for you"  Anyone else get that reference and obsessed with Lauren Conrad like I am?! Haha.  The show ended up being a blast, great music, fun atmosphere, and an overall great birthday date night!

How do you like to celebrate your partners birthday [especially when they are difficult to shop for]? 

P.S. If you like my romper or my off the shoulder black top I am wearing for the show; you can use the code AMANDA10 for 10% off any Ivy & Leo items online!

Friday, June 16, 2017

How to Stay Healthy on Vacation

Location: Hatteras, OBX | a throwback to Finn's first time at the beach!

Today, I am off to the beach for a much needed vacation.  My family has been exchanging group emails and messages all week long preparing for this trip. With how much I have researched and delved into health and nutrition this year I don't want to have a week that does me more harm than good.  That got me thinking.  We are texting about our packing items and events that are being planned so why can't we prepare to have a healthy vacation as well?

I am sharing some of my favorite ways to stay healthy while taking a necessary break from the every day life and routine.

1. Get moving. Go for morning walks with your coffee first thing in the morning.  You will get to explore your vacation spot and get your metabolism kickstarted by moving early before the rest of the world wakes up!

2. Do what you can. If you don't eat 100% clean and workout for an hour and a half every single day while you're on vacation; know that it's totally okay.  It's better to do a little something than nothing.  Change your mindset about your workouts and focus on what you can/ are able to do and do that!  Every little bit matters, no matter how little.

3. Focus on nutrition. We are bringing some already prepped meals [go mom with the zucchini lasagna!] lots and lots of healthy snacks, and healthy options that we can't live without daily.  Bringing items from home will help you stick to your meal plans as well as save money and the hassle of beach grocery stores on check in days. We are also renting a beach house, meaning we can cook more meals at home rather than eat out.  If you have to eat out just make sure your meals are lean, clean, and green!

4. Enjoy your vacation + rest. Our bodies need sleep and rest just as much as they need movement and fuel. Don't be so focused on your fitness goals that you miss life.  Eat that local decadence.  Spend time with your family or friends.  Take a nap in the sun on the beach.  Being present in the moment and taking in the adventure as it comes will do wonders for your overall wellness.

5. Think outside the "gym".  Find some fun ways to explore and be active. When I am at the beach, I love trying things like standup paddle boarding or kayaking.  If you are vacationing on a budget; running up and down the beach with the pup is always a fun adventure.  Be active in your experiences.  You will not only stay happy and healthy you will make some fun memories in the process.

What are your favorite ways to stay healthy on vacation?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Home Decor Inspiration

There is something about moving that just gets my creative juices flowing.  I love to organize and purge so basically packing up all my stuff every single year to move apartments has become the way I do it. The downside is that I have moved every single year and all that heavy lifting can get exhausting.  Plus I have never really taken the time to decorate with quality pieces since my mindset is "I will be out of here next year" 

My plan for this next move is to stay put for a little bit and be able to really make this next place my own. I have 3 pinterest boards full of home decor, apartment ideas, as well as organization tips that I have been revisiting lately. As you can see from my "mood" board collage above I am really vibing on warm neutrals with touches of gray and blues.  I also love love love decorating with plants.  Our new place will have so much more natural light so I can truly have plants all over instead of crammed all together by the window salvaging sunlight.

I am so excited to be moved and settled.  The new place is in a really fun area of Charlotte surrounded by so many things to do and people our age.  Our specific apartment will have a loft that will be so much more space to decorate! Hello office/ guest room combo decor ideas.

We are moving in July so before we can even get to the fun decorating part there is so much packing to do! I will keep you updated on this journey; I have moved so many times that I have this down to a science and will be sharing tips and tricks I have learned along the way.

What are your favorite decor tips and tricks for making a place truly feel settled and like a home?
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