Monday, July 31, 2017

Making the Most of Summertime

Outfit: Romper | Shoes [Similar]

I have to admit, typically I am a fall obsessed girl. Not this year, though.  I have probably been craving summer since probably February.  Now, that I can see my school year start date on the calendar so soon I don't want it to end!

This summer has been so necessary for me personally, it has also been a lot of fun.  There has been a lot of transition for me with moving to a new apartment, and learning a lot of little life lessons that Jesus and I have been working on. This summer I have also decided to set the to do list aside for what is really important.  I want my actions to reflect my words.  If I am going to be true to that it means calling my loved ones, setting up friend dates, exploring my new neighborhood, being outside in the sunshine, and truly celebrating this life.

Summer has been my opportunity to reflect on what is important and incorporate that in my life.  With a few more weeks of summer I am determined to make the most of it.  I also want to bring a little bit of my summertime self with me to my school year.  The to - do list will always be there but the experiences, the daylight late at night, the outdoor yoga, the flowers, those things end up fading with winter.  Not this year.

Summer you are slowly becoming my new favorite because of all the life changing lessons you have taught me. You have brought me closer to friends.  You have given me sun kissed skin and lighter hair.  You have given me lots of much needed rest.  You have warmed my heart and soul.  You have taught me to explore, to cherish life, and to slow down.

Cheers to celebrating summer and making the most of it.

How are you celebrating summertime? 

P.S.  If you love my romper as much as I do; check out Ivy & Leo.  You can use the code AMANDA10 for 10% off your purchases, they are also having a crazy summer sale right now - 30% off all summer items to make room for their fall line!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Topgolf | Charlotte

Location: Topgolf Charlotte 

Outfit: Tank: Target [Similar] | Jean Shorts: Abercrombie & Fitch | Sneakers: Target 

Details: 5$ lifetime membership [needed for every person], $25 - $45 per hour depending on the time you go, + cost of food and drinks.

Topgolf just opened up in Charlotte at the beginning of June. It has been a huge hit so far.  A friend who lives over by the location said every time she drives by there is a line out the door! For Fathers Day I told my dad I would treat him to a day at Topgolf this summer.  He decided to use his gift on my Mom's birthday this past Sunday, so it was like a double gift from me for both my parents.

We were prepared to wait when we got there so we put our names on the list and wandered around to check out the place.  For those of you not familiar with Topgolf the best way I can describe it is a driving range with the idea of bowling.  Your balls have trackers so you can play various types of games and you get points if you hit your ball in one of the targets by the flags.  For those super serious golfers beware if you are simply playing the "topgolf game" you could have an amazing shot but not get it in the target and not score any points at all!

We decided to get some food and drinks while we were waiting.  There are 3 levels here all with various seating and bar areas you can hang out at.  There are also lots of fun games around like pool and table shuffleboard to play while you wait.

The music was very loud in the whole place.  Be prepared for a "bar scene" vibe as a result.  This is not your quiet, serious, country club driving range at all.  I thought it made it very unique, but even our server wanted to lower the music because she couldn't hear us!

The overall game once we finally got to our corral was so much fun!  You chose your club and then wave it over the board so your ball comes out to the tee.  Then you try to hit the ball to one of the targets! I love going to the driving range; although I have only been a handful of times, this was exiting to actually get points and see where your ball landed right away.  If you make it in the targets your screen shows where the ball landed, the distance you shot it, and gives you points for that.

I had been saving up for this day for a while because as you can see there are a lot of little costs that do add up quick.  Everyone needs the lifetime membership card; this covers your "club" rentals and keeps track of your score.  You can also load money on your membership before you even go which can pay for the corral rentals. If you are going with a group of friends you can split everything evenly on the computer very easily though to keep costs down.  Be prepared to drop quite a bit of money - drink prices were high, the food was delicious but expect about 10 dollars per item.

We all had such a blast.  I ended up beating everyone but my dad in the second game! Maybe I'll start to pick up golf more regularly now. I would go again but I think I might wait until the novelty wears off a little bit and my bank account bounces back.  We had to wait for a long time [2 hours] and spending so much money doesn't exactly pass for living well on a budget in my book.  A bucket of balls at the driving range is a whole lot cheaper and still a ton of fun to do - you can even go out for drinks after to celebrate.  All in all it was a great experience and I am so glad they are here in Charlotte!

Do you have a Topgolf in your area? Or have you been to the one in Charlotte? What do you think?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Home Decor + Patience & Self Control

Anyone else ever look on Pinterest or browse through home decor and organization ideas then just magically your house looks like that overnight? Yeah, me neither.  Wouldn't that be wonderful - if you pin something it just appears without you actually having to pay for it haha. This one click wonder of a world full of instant gratification at your fingertips makes it feel like that could be your reality.  We can like a picture on instagram and get all the shopping details for it sent to an app that you can shop directly from.  So useful and dangerous all at the same time, because we actually have to make a purchase.

Our brains are tricked into thinking that I want it and want it now is the only way to go. Credit cards hold no consequences in the moment it seems.  If our wants, which feel like needs, are not fufilled in a single moment then it eats at us and messes with our self worth.

On my editorial calendar for this month I wanted to show you all decor ideas and updates for this apartment.  That's definitely not the case friends and you know what; it's totally okay.  I am so happy with this apartment.  Yes, we still have a long way to go.  Organization puzzles to solve, some big purchases to make, and a couch would be nice so I am not hanging out in my living room on a beach chair anymore.

This apartment, for me, is different than all of my other moves I have made in the past.  With those places I wanted it to be perfectly decorated within a week of move in.  I used a lot of decor items that I have collected throughout the years.  In this place though looking at them all together it just feels so college and not cohesive at all.

So making this apartment a true home is teaching me about faith.  Specifically the fruits of the spirit: Patience and Self Control. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. - Galatians 5:22-23 

Truly good things don't happen over night.  I may have to sit on a beach chair for now.  Some items might not have perfectly organized homes yet.  My walls may be a little bit bare.  My feet might be cold on the bare floor in the bathroom.  But when I practice patience and a little bit of self control with my spending - I will be able to save up for the things that I dream will be in this space.  

Just like with our faith.  We might not get answers from prayers right away.  When we practice patience and self control - we trust that following Jesus is going to be so so worth it in the end.  

So little by little, I will continue to do the work in my apartment and in my life to stay true to this path that is laid before me.  

How is your every day life teaching you faith lessons today?


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Happy Things

In light of Monday's post I wanted to create a fun list of all things that make me happy.  We are all so beautiful and so unique.  Everyone was created for a different purpose; that is to live your own best life. Not anyone else's.

So perfection stemming from comparison doesn't get us to the place of happiness or living well.  I find that when I am in a place of want want want I need to shift my mindset and think about what I have, what I love, and what truly makes me happy. So here it is in no particular order; my happy list:

Puppy tail wags and sloppy kisses

Savoring a delicious meal that you dream about for days after

Completing a tough workout and feeling so strong after


Journaling in the early mornings

Long walks with friends [and Finn]

Popcorn and M&M's at the movies

A gorgeous sunset

Running a race

Standing in front of a vast view [mountains or beach] that creates wonder and awe and that feeling of being small

Feeling creative and inspired

An outfit, make up, and hair that makes you feel like you can take on the world

Completing a tough project

Wine & Cheese

The look on a child's face when they learn something new and do it all by themselves

Lovely conversations with girlfriends

Traveling to a new place and truly getting to explore

Learning about people; their stories, their culture, their daily life

Creating something delicious in the kitchen while drinking wine and chatting about life with my man

Being engrossed in a really good book

Getting something at a really good price [clothes, furniture, fun items] I love a deal!

A beautiful yoga practice

Green plants making living spaces warm, homey, and beautiful

Laughing until you cry

I could probably sit here all day and brainstorm more and more happy things.  Once you start thinking of one more pop in your head - it's a really great practice to lift your spirits and help you realize living your best life means doing more of what makes you happy. I intend to incorporate more of my list above into my daily routine to continue to strive for health and happiness!

What are some things that make you happy?

Monday, July 17, 2017

On Striving for Perfection

Today we are getting a little more raw and a lot more real here on Sweet Surrender.  I have been wrestling with the concept of perfection for a little while and wanted to share my journey and thoughts through this process. Comparison is a topic that is brought up in the blog world quite frequently and I wrote a post about that here. Perfection or wanting perfection is sometimes stemmed from comparison but in my case today it is coming from a variety of places.

I am a to- do list maker, people pleaser, rule follower, and strive for recognition that I am doing the right thing. Lately, striving to get it all done, to have my apartment be beautiful and pinterest worthy only a week after we moved in, to have the right clothes, hair, & make up, and to make all those around me happy, has had the opposite effect.  Reaching for perfection has made me miserable. It's exhausting.  It's also not worth it at all. In trying to do all the things I was actually losing myself, who I was, and what truly makes me happy.

Perfection isn't an attainable thing at all.  We all fall short.  We all make mistakes.  We all live very different lives and that's okay.  I am learning to accept myself.  I am learning to thrive in the imperfections.  Most of all God's grace is free flowing. If he can forgive me through it all, why can't I learn to forgive myself and give myself permission to slow down?

My apartment will take time to get organized and saving for a couch won't happen overnight.  Sometimes others aren't going to be thrilled at the decisions I make for myself and that's okay.  My wardrobe will take time to build. I have so much to be grateful for right now.  Wanting perfection will only bring misery.  Practicing gratitude brings joy.

Instead of striving for perfection I have created a new goal: strive for health and happiness.  When I am making healthy choices and decision that bring me joy I am my best self. We only get one life to live and I don't want to waste mine guilt tripping myself and creating unnecessary anxiety because perfection simply couldn't be reached.  I want to spend the time I have living my best life.

Have you had to shift your mindset when it comes to perfection? How has that changed your life for the better? 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Paisley Kimono

Location: Charlotte, NC

Outfit Details: Kimono [Ivy & Leo] | Jean Shorts [Abercrombie: old] | Sandals [Jack Rogers]

It is hot in Charlotte during the summer.  We get humidity that is unreal.  Most days in the summer I am in a swim suit, old habits die hard.  Fun fact: I swam competitively from the age of 5 through college! When I do have go somewhere that is not a pool I like to feel a little put together without feeling like all my clothes are sticking to me in this crazy heat.

A kimono is a perfect way to dress up an outfit of just a tank and jean shorts.  I love how this one flows, has a beautiful print, and some fun tassels! Putting on this kimono just makes me feel like I am ready to go to an outdoor concert or have a fun adventure.  It really pulls the whole outfit together.

We have officially moved to our new place. Feeling settled and organized will probably take me a while, especially since we are on the hunt for a new couch. Even without having a couch and boxes all over the place driving me crazy; I am having so much fun exploring this neighborhood in Charlotte. Be on the lookout soon for some of the places we explore around here!

What is your favorite summery outfit go-to? 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer Country Concerts

Location: PNC Music Pavillion

Outfit Details: Romper | Shoes 

There is something about summertime and country music that just go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Every time the weather starts to warm up and the sun decides to stay out longer I turn my radio in the car to the local country station.  I really just love how country music instills a notion in me to slow down and focus on what is important in life.

Last week, in the midst of our packing extravaganza, we had the chance to take a break and go enjoy life a bit by going to a concert with some friends.  Luke Combs was opening for Brantley Gilbert in Charlotte.  He is a fellow mountaineer [Go App!] so we had to go see him and support.  I remember when he was just starting out playing small bars in Boone and around NC and now he is playing at the big time concert venue in Charlotte! Cheers to you Luke - keep chasing your dreams!

Mike is definitely not a country music fan but even he had a great time catching up with friends, doing some tailgating, and above all listening and dancing to some fun music!

Have you had a chance to go to some fun summer concerts? Which ones are your favorite? 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Moving Tips and Tricks

Tomorrow is another moving day for me!

Mom and I counted the other day.  I have moved 10 times in the past 9 years of my life.  We counted those 10 as the times I have fully and completely packed up all my things, loaded into a truck or van, and had to unpack in a completely different place.  No wonder my dog started to get super anxious any time I pack for even something as simple as going over to my parents house for the evening. I am really hoping we love this new place and stay put for a little while.  My plan is to stay put until we are ready to buy a house. I also know the saying "the way to make God laugh is to make plans" holds so much truth in my life.

With all of those moves under my belt; I have learned a few things along the way to help make transitions a little easier and run smoothly.

Don't take everything.  I know it sounds crazy but a move is a fresh start. Take some time to really go through your things, organize, and evaluate whether you have used something in a while.  If it doesn't serve a purpose any longer or it has been collecting dust under the bed the whole time you have been in this place - maybe it's time to find a new home.  I always have three piles going during packing; one for goodwill, one for trash, and one that will go with me to my new place.

Trash bags + Clothes = Besties. I learned this trick a while ago and it has saved me so much hassle.  Instead of taking all your clothes off hangers folding them, packing them up, then having to unpack once you get to your new place - cut a hole in the bottom of the trash bag [big black kitchen size with drawstrings] and drape them over the hangers then close the drawstring at the bottom of your clothes.  You can just take the hangers and hang them up in the new closet! Bonus the trash bags will protect your clothes from getting messed up during the move.

Start with things you don't use.  I go around my house and think of it like layers.  I will collect all the decor items or things that don't serve much interaction function first, put them in a central location pack them up.  Then I go to closet spaces.  What season are you moving in?  Summer? Great you don't need your winter stuff.  Pull out everything in storage spaces - organize it - then into boxes it goes! Keep peeling through the layers day by day until you are a few days before your move and you can slim down kitchen items, etc.  Think about it realistically - I mean I love my crockpot as much as anyone but I am not about to slow cook some brisket 2 days before I move - we have been eating whole foods hot bar for a few days instead. So keep one or two plates and utensils out, maybe one pan for cooking, and everything else can get packed up!

Pack an overnight bag or box. This is a life saver!! I used to want to get into a new place unpack everything and have it all decorated perfect the same day.  Then I realized I was projecting my incredible anxiety onto my loved ones who sacrificed their time and energy to help me.  Instead, I am going to pack a weekend bag for myself.  It will include things I use daily like face wash and toothbrush, a few changes of clothes, and of course my beloved coffee pot and coffee because duh.  So now once my furniture is set and the necessities for night one unpacked I will be able to go out and celebrate and treat my friends and family for helping! Plus, now I know it won't all be perfect overnight and I am excited to slowly go through my new place, decorate it, and make it feel truly like home, but that's for me to do.

Have a friend [or your parents] keep your dog day of. Finn hates to be confined. HATES it. As much as I love my pup, he doesn't need to be in the way or locked up while the door needs to stay wide open for moving boxes and furniture. He will spend the day at my parents house relaxing and will come over once we are settled in and he can sniff out the new place in peace. Don't stress your pups out and have them tear up your bathroom floors in the process [true story]

Don't forget to change your address. If you are like me. Amazon is your bestie. You want all your fun packages to get to you when you move. Change your address for the postal service but also all your information. Bank. License. Amazon. BarkBox. etc... You can mail out a cute e-card to friends and family too once you have moved letting them know where you are! Don't want those wedding invitations to get lost either!

Keep healthy snacks accessible.  Moving day is always a huge production.  For some reason I never eat day of. I am always so busy loading boxes and doing heavy lifting, plus everything else has been packed up. It's not healthy.  Moving is hard work for your body and you need fuel.  Keep a bunch of protein bars out on a counter so that anyone can grab them when they feel like they need to re-charge a bit.  Your body and friends will thank you.

What are some moving tips and tricks that have helped you stay sane during moving? 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Currently | July

Location: Avon, North Carolina [Outer Banks] 

Outfit Details: 3/4 sleeve top [Ivy & Leo; use the code AMANDA10 for 10% off your online purchases] | Jean Shorts [Target: old] 

It's July! Can you believe it? Halfway through 2017 already.  How is your year going? Your summer so far? This summer has been wonderful as well as really busy.  We are moving this upcoming weekend, it's definitely wedding season /year for my friends, I am teaching practically my parents whole neighborhood how to swim, and trying to have some me time too.

I am linking up with Anne and Stephanie to share more of what I am currently up to. 

documenting: Life through my camera lens. I love having a creative outlet and find that once I have one idea so many more come.  I am saving up for a DSLR so my passion can really take off. 

accomplishing: Lots and lots of packings and organizing happening here.  Since I was on vacation I really only have about a week to pack up the whole apartment! Talk about a time crunch.  

enjoying: The long summer days full of sunlight.  I feel like I have so much time to do all the things I want to.  My days are spent at the pool, spending lots of quality time with my pup, and finding new adventures around Charlotte.  

reading: Real talk.  I love to read. I also have to force myself not to read so that I don't become so engrossed in the book world that I don't live in my own.  So sadly because of packing all the time I haven't had a chance to get to the library. Once I settle I am going to get some fun books to read by the pool, any recommendations? 

spending: My time packing and dreaming of decorating the new place.  I have so many fun ideas.  I have been itching to get out of the place that I am in for a while now and it seems so surreal that it's finally here!

What are you currently up to? 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Outer Banks 2017 | A Pup at the Beach

Location: Avon, Outer Banks, North Carolina

Finn is the blog mascot, he is my best bud, and currently snoring next to me while I write this.  I will always choose getting to take Finn on a trip or adventure with me over boarding him. We have had good experiences at doggy camps, yet I think a vacation is so much more enjoyable with my pup by my side, if he is able to come with.

We rented a dog friendly house right on the ocean.  The beaches in Hatteras / Avon are dog friendly too.  I have been to some beaches where there is a time restriction for when dogs can be on the beach but not on the Outer Banks! Finn could come and play whenever he wanted.

Finn had the best time at the beach.  He chased ghost crabs, dug many many holes in the sand, went swimming in the waves, took long walks on the beach in the morning, and his favorite part sitting in the sunshine on the deck watching over all the people playing at the beach.

We also got some local treats while we were at the beach.  Finn devoured them.  I found some Sandy Paws treats at the farmers market on the island when we went one morning.  The treats were adorable and so beautifully made.  Almost too cute to eat but Finn said they were too tasty to save!

Now that we are home from the beach we are already planning our next adventure.

What is a fun dog friendly place that you would recommend? 
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