Week in Review, Vol. IX

WIR 9

Hello and welcome back to my blog!

I’ll be honest, during quarantine, when I should have been creating content, I found it extremely hard to focus and my creativity just was not there. However, now that I’m back to work and my routine is finally going back to normal, I’m excited to share lots of content and some BIG news coming soon!

What better way to jump back into the blog than by bringing back my Week in Review series! A quick recap of what I’ve been up to: house hunting, getting my health and fitness in check, tackling my TBR list, and getting back into the swing of things at work.

Quick Reads

I’ve been working more on my self care and getting my health in check now more than ever before. This The EveryGirl article is full of great new wellness trends to fit into your routine.

Lately, I’ve been increasing my water intake, and here is why you should too, and exactly how much you should be drinking in a day.

In honor of this being my birthday week, here is an interesting article from the Washington Post about why we maybe shouldn’t be blowing out our candles.

Whether conspiracy tiktok has you on the #FreeBritney train or you’re simply hearing the phrase everywhere, The Cut has some more information on the ordeal.

What I’m Reading

“The Shadows” by Alex North – Unfortunately I haven’t had a ton of time to dive into this one yet, but rumor has it that it’s the best thriller of the year so far! Learn more about it on its Goodreads page.

What I’m Watching

Ryan and I have been binging Designated Survivor on Netflix and we are OBSESSED!! We just finished the final season and are so sad it’s over. I’m still making my way through Handmaid’s Tale, and we recently started Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix, and it’s sooo good!

What I’m Listening To

Podcasts that make me giggle:

Absolutely Not / Heather McMahan

The Bitch Bible / Jackie Schimmel

Songs that are stuck in my head thanks to TikTok:

Wait a Minute! / WILLOW

Stunnin’ / Curtis Waters, Harm Franklin

Banana (feat. Shaggy) / Conkarah, DJ Fle

Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat) / Jawsh685, Jason Derulo

Watermelon Sugar / Harry Styles

Taylor Swift’s new album Folklore will be on repeat all day!

-K.

 

Let’s Talk Skin Care

It’s no secret that one of my favorite methods of self care is skin care. There is nothing more relaxing than washing your face after a long day and applying your favorite moisturizers, masks, and serums as you prep for bed. I wrote a similar piece to this a little over a year ago, but low and behold, I’ve switched up my skin care routine yet again. Yes, we’re really doing this again… It’s a funny thing, really, this constant battle with sensitive skin. Just when I start to think that I’ve finally found my routine and my skin is looking better than ever, IT HAPPENS. Usually “it” is a rough bout of dry skin or a breakout, but this time, sh*t hit the fan — my eczema navigated to my face.

When I was around 7 years old, my mix of eczema and psoriasis was horrendous. Doctors told me that it was possible that I would grow out of it, and — for the most part — it has cleared up over the years to the point where I had not been to the dermatologist for over 10 years. Recently, I’ve noticed the psoriasis patches have been making a comeback on my ankles and behind my knees, which I’ve been managing by moisturizing consistently. Additionally, after utilizing the same Vitamin C products for a few months, I began to discover psoriasis-like patches on my face that wouldn’t go away regardless of how much I moisturized. After consulting my dermatologist for the first time in years, I made the decision switch to a totally different skin care routine and finally found the one that works for me and my sensitive skin. 

Skin Care Routine: A.M.

Full disclosure: I only wash my face once a day at the end of the day and/or following my workout so that I don’t dry out my face. I will rinse off and dry my face first thing, especially if I wore a face mask or acne spot treatment overnight. I start my morning with a quick rinse of my face, patting it dry and then moisturizing it. One of my newest beauty obsessions is Drunk Elephant. I’ve heard about it for years and was finally influenced to try it after dealing with all of my recent issues. The best part about it is that you can easily mix the moisturizers and serums together to create a one step cocktail for your face. I always use Drunk Elephant’s Protini™ Polypeptide Moisturizer as the base, and combine it with B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum and D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops. I love that B-Hydra is a great addition to your morning routine to help give your skin an extra dose of hydration. Not only does D-Bronzi give your skin a beautiful glow, but it also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles all while protecting your skin from pollution/environmental stressors. My only complaint with these products is that you can’t tell when the product is running low to restock, so I will restock these items about a month into using the product to prepare. Once I apply everything, I allow it to soak into my soak prior to applying my makeup for the day. 

Skin Care Routine: P.M. 

I start my evening routine by removing my makeup with Garnier’s SkinActive Micellar Water and washing my face with Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser. These are two of my holy grail products that I swear by and have used for years. After I dry my face, depending on the day, I have three different options for how I’ll end the night:

One // On any normal night, I will use the Protini™ Polypeptide Moisturizer as a base and mix it with Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Antioxidant Face Oilto help lock in moisture over night. The marula oil contains antioxidants and omega 6 and 9 to combat dryness, dullness, texture, fine lines and wrinkles. It is one of my absolute favorite Drunk Elephant products.

Two // Once a week, or if my skin is feeling drier than usual, I will combine Drunk Elephant’s F-Balm™ Electrolyte Waterfacial Mask with the T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum and by the morning, my skin feels so plump and hydrated and looks glowy. 

Three // If I’m having a break out (which is rare), I will simply put on Kate Somerville’s EradiKate™ Acne Treatment on my acne spots and sleep with it on. In the morning, I notice that there is a dramatic reduction in acne. 

Regardless of which of these I choose, I will always put Glossier’s Bubble Wrap cream under my eyes and Vaseline on my lips for an extra bit of moisture. 

Have any questions about my routine or the products I use? Leave a comment below!

-K.

Here’s What’s Up: Quarantine Edition

Alexa, play “Locked Up” by Akon.

First and foremost, I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this scary, uncertain time. It’s incredibly overwhelming with the current circumstances of the world looming over our heads and always having it in our face with the news and social media. For a while, it didn’t exactly feel right to push out content at this time, but I’ve found that creating content and writing has been therapeutic for me. I, like many others across the globe, have found myself mentally and emotionally struggling during this time and this is the best way for me to deal with what’s been going on in my mind, so I’ve made the decision to continue to create and distribute my blog posts.

Today is the day that I thought I’d be returning to work and everything would start to shift back to our normal routine, but this is not the case. I’ll be honest, initially this didn’t seem like such a bad gig — a little more time to myself, a two-pace commute to my desk, having a consistent workout schedule. It all sounds pretty great! Now that we are about a month in, I’m finding that I’m having a much harder time with it all. My fiancé and I were in the middle of house hunting, and I was sure that we’d be in our future home within the next few months; however, with the mandatory shelter-in-place in effect in Michigan, our search has come to a screeching halt. Additionally, since he is a firefighter and can potentially be dealing with COVID patients on a daily basis, we have made the decision to socially distance from each other. After being long distance for four years, this should be a piece of cake, but I’m taking it a lot harder than I anticipated. Luckily, I’m safe at home with my immediate family, and we’re all safe and healthy with the exception of an increased feeling of cabin fever. I’ve been making a conscious effort to get some fresh air by going for walks a few times a week or just stepping out on our back patio, and trying to keep in touch with friends and family through texts, calls, FaceTime, and Zoom meetings.

I’m well aware that my own situation is peanuts compared to what others are going through. My heart aches for my little brother and the rest of the senior class of 2020 who are missing out on those final days of high school and college: sports seasons have been cut short, no prom, no spring break, missing out on those final days with their friends, and Lord knows about graduation or graduation parties to celebrate their achievements. My heart goes out to those who cannot gather for various milestones at this time — having to postpone their weddings, being unable to properly put on a funeral or celebration of life for those lives that are lost, and many more circumstances. Finally, my thoughts and prayers are constantly with those who are being directly affected by the virus — people who have and had the virus, their families, those on the frontlines: healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers (grocery workers, mail carriers, and many others) putting themselves at risk daily to help fight this and help others through this.

The Positives

Despite everything, I’m making an effort to focus on many personal positives that have come out of this:

  • Working on my Health and Body: I now have a consistent daily workout routine with the help of two of my sorority sisters. Also, being at home has forced me to practice better eating habits and cook meals that are better for me (not including the chocolate croissant above — that is a special treat since it reminds me of happier times). In addition, I’ve developed a solid meditation routine. While I’m still not the best at turning my mind off, I notice that I’m getting better with every practice.
  • Wedding Planning: I have the time to start researching venues and vendors for our wedding. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve already found my dress (more to come on that later)! With everything so up in the air right now, we have yet to set a concrete date, but we’re aiming for Spring 2022, so getting a head start on planning has me super excited!
  • Blogging: As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been able to dedicate more time to working on my blog and creating more content. It has been very therapeutic to me to do something I’m passionate about.
  • Developing Personal and Professional Skills: I’ve allocated more time to improving myself on both a personal and professional level, utilizing platforms such as Coursera and LinkedIn Learning. This is something I’ve been trying to do for a long time, but time didn’t always allow for me to get through the course; now, I have zero excuse to not get through them!
  • Reading: Slowly but surely, I’m been working on my rather large to-be-read pile. Currently I’m working on The Alice Network by Kate Quinn, and I’m totally captivated by this story. To discover more books that I’m reading, have read, or what I’m looking to read next, check out my Goodreads profile. My goal this year is 55 books, but I’m always hoping to surpass that goal!
  • A Deeper Appreciation: As they say, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”. Boy, has that really hit home with me during this time. I’ve always thought that I appreciated the little things, but this has taught me not to take little joys for granted.

A Glimmer of Hope

At the end of all of this, I’m really hoping that people prioritize what’s really important in life, and don’t take our freedoms and privileges for granted. Hug your loved ones a tighter and cherish the time you have with them. We will persevere.

-K.

7 Tips to Enhance Your Productivity While Working Remotely

In the last week, I, like many others across the globe, have found myself working from home. While I’ve done this a number of times due to illness or bad road conditions, I’ve never been home for an extended period of time as I am now. Let me tell you, adjusting to this temporary “new normal” was a lot more difficult than I anticipated. 

In the last couple weeks, I found what was supposed to be a hectic March rapidly slowing down. As events we were scheduled to attend began cancelling left and right due to COVID-19, I found my to do list decreasing exponentially; however, this has become the best time to discover new ways to get creative with my position. 

Set a routine — I’ve found that sticking to my usual routine and having my usual work hours work best for me and how I work. I usually get up, and do my usual morning skincare routine, brush my teeth, and get dressed before I start my day. I also keep my usual work hours to help me keep that space between work life and personal life.

Get dressed — Even if I’m changing over from my pajamas to leggings and a sweatshirt, I feel so much more productive when I get dressed for the day. Plus, it’s that extra push to get out of bed and to my desk. 

Create a workspace that is NOT your bed — When you realize that you’re working remotely, your first thought might be “wow I can’t wait to work from bed!” Right?? WRONG! Personally, I like to put on some chill, atmospheric music (Spotify has some great mood playlists), light some candles, and sit at my desk in my room away from distractions. I’m also one of those strange people who absolutely cannot have the tv on or I will get distracted from what I’m doing. 

Use the Ivy Lee Method — I recently started using the Ivy Lee Method to enhance my productivity at work after hearing about it through Lauryn Evarts Bosstick of The Skinny Confidential. Often times, I get pulled away from what I’m working on or something urgent will come up in the middle of working on a project, and I find that my productivity wanes. I started using this method as a means of keeping me on track when these distractions happen and it really works! At the beginning of each day, write down the 6 main tasks you want to accomplish by the end of the day. Those tasks that aren’t complete are transferred to the top of your to-do list the next day, and so on and so forth.

Take short brain breaks — The same thing goes for being in the office. I know that I can’t have my eyes on my computer all day long, nor can I stay focused for that long, so I remember to get up and get moving to give my mind and body a break. 

Check in with your colleagues — Working from home can get lonely, so make sure you check in with your co-workers just as you would if you were in the office.

Get active — We all know that sitting at your desk all day is not healthy. Make sure you get up and get moving several times a day, whether it’s taking a walk at lunch, ensuring that you’re getting up to stretch every so often, or scheduling in time to get in a good workout. Since working from home, I have a set a calendar notice every day at 5pm for my daily work out. This has helped immensely to integrate it into my routine. Additionally, there are so many benefits to staying active while staying in: improved focus and cognitive function, better sleep, boosts energy, combats health conditions and diseases, and much more.

These are just a few tips that I use to help keep me on track and productive while working from home. Do you have any WFH methods that aren’t on this list? Share them below!

-K.

Our Engagement Story

Happy 2020! It only took me 3 months, but I’ve finally had the time to write out my first blog post of the year, and it’s an exciting one that I didn’t think I would be writing for at least another year. 2020 has been a whirlwind thus far — January seemed to take FOREVER and then February flew by and I feel like I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath lately as things are getting crazier because….

WE’RE ENGAGED!! 

It was a complete and utter surprise. We’ve talked about getting married for a few years now, especially after being together for 6 years and doing long distance for 4; however, I didn’t anticipate anything happening for at least another year.

For years I’ve told Ryan that I had a list of rules for when he proposed:

1.) My nails needed to be done – not hard since I’ve been getting them done religiously for 2 years.

2.) He had to ask my dad for permission.

3.) Make sure that there is someone there to photograph it.

4.) Please do not stick the ring in food.

5.) Don’t do it at a sporting event.

Seems bratty, but I know what I want and I’m always sure to articulate it. Plus, luckily for me, he abided by all of these rules haha!

Now that I’ve had some time to digest it — mind you, it feels like a dream — I still can’t believe how well Ryan pulled everything off. Everything was absolutely flawless! I never knew what to expect from him, but it couldn’t have been more perfect and well thought out. Going back to the place where we had our first date and really started to fall for each other was the best way to jump start forever.

How it all went down…

It all started earlier in the week when my best friend reached out to us and asked if we wanted to go ice skating at Campus Martius in downtown Detroit with her and her husband. What a perfect way to throw me off, right?! When the plans were set, I had a fleeting thought of, “how awesome would it be to get engaged where it all began”, then I completely forgot about it until following the proposal.

When the day came, we met at their house to all drive down together. Everything seemed so normal on the car ride, aside from no one jumping on my suggestion of Shake Shack for dinner, which I thought was odd, but I didn’t think anything of it. During the ride I recounted a strange dream I had the night before about a wedding. Again, I didn’t think too far into this because it’s normal for me to have strange, vivid dreams. I mean, really, I could write a book on all of these dreams.

We headed to the rink, strapped on the skates, and began skating. Mind you, I cannot ice skate to save my life, so it’s more so Ryan pulling me around the rink as I attempt to stay upright. As we made our way around the rink, I couldn’t help but think about how grateful I am that Ryan is so patient with me when we go skating (he’s a hockey player, so he’s pretty darn good at it).

About an hour in, I was ready to be done when Ryan said, “come on, let’s just do one more lap”. Hungry, tired, and with aching feet, I obliged. Halfway through the lap, he turns to me and says, ” you know that dream you had about the wedding? I think you had the wrong person.” As Taylor Swift’s “Lover” played in background, he pulled the ring box out of his pocket, gets on one knee, and asks me to marry him. Of course, I said yes!! Well, more like nodded my head yes because I was so shocked that I could barely speak. He sweetly asked if I wanted to put the ring on because I couldn’t pull myself together or comprehend what was happening.

Afterwards, our friends snapped some photos of us and we went to 24 Grille where Ryan made reservations for us — hence the Shake Shack rejection — which was absolutely delicious. It was so special to have our best friends there to celebrate this milestone with us!

We have yet to start the planning process since we’re currently house hunting, but I’m so excited to share wedding content as we start our planning journey. In the meantime, please share any of your best wedding planning tips, tricks, or resources below or on my Instagram post!

-K.

2019 Reflection & Looking Ahead…

Instagram Top Nine 2019

I was not initially planning on doing a 2019 recap post; however, when I reflect on the year, I realize how big this year has been for me. 2019 has been a HUGE year of growth for me both personally and professionally. A few highlights:

  • I received my first promotion as the Brand and Events Coordinator for the company I work for in March. With this promotion comes a LOT more responsibility and much more traveling for work, which is why I have not been able to dedicate as much time as I would have liked to the blog this year. I’m working on a way to even it out for the upcoming year, as I have a ton of content planned for 2020 already!
  • My boyfriend and I officially conquered long distance, and he moved home for good this spring.
  • In June, I took a girls’ trip to France with my mom, her best friend, and her daughter. We had the best time navigating the country traveling all around from Paris to Bayeux, Normandy to Avignon, and finally Nice and Monaco. I’m still sharing photos on my Instagram from this incredible trip. 
  • In July, Ry took me on a weekend getaway to Mackinac Island (I’ve always wanted to stay on the island). I also planned a successful destination joint bachelor/bachelorette party for my best friend and her husband.
  • In August, my best friend married the love of her life, and I had the honor of standing by her side as her maid of honor.

While this year brought about many highs, it was working through the lows that really taught me what I was capable of. 2019 also came with many tough lessons that have taken me years to acknowledge, but I will never forget. Between working hard and often, adjusting to no longer being long distance, reconnecting with old friends, this has been an overall fulfilling, successful year.

Key Takeaways

Not everyone wants you to be successful; in fact, most often have their own agenda. As someone who genuinely wants the best for others and will do anything to help them attain their goals, this was a hard pill for me to swallow. There were a number of times in my life where I’ve been burned from trusting people who I thought were helping me achieve my goals, but in reality, had their own selfish objectives at the forefront of their actions. Unfortunately, it took me this long to realize this. 

In addition, I learned not to take advice from people who are not on the same path as you. I’ve always referred to myself as a knowledge sponge willing to soak up any and all information and advice I possibly can. However, I learned that this can often waste time, brain space, and energy when it comes to attaining my goals.

Work-life balance. To be honest, I completely thought this was a myth in corporate America when I started my job. However, when I was consistently getting sick for the better part of Q3-Q4 this year, I realized that I’d be “on” all the time and had my work phone attached to my hip. It was then that I truly realized that I needed to set some boundaries, including turning my phone off and leaving it at home when I’m out on vacation and saying no when my plate is overflowing with responsibility. This is still a work in progress, but I am determined to have a healthier balance in my life.

Looking Ahead…

This is actually the first time I’m going into the new year with no idea of what lies ahead of me. I’ve always approached each new year with some pre-conceived notion of what’s to come. In 2020, I’m hoping to roll with the punches a bit more and tackle one challenge at a time. Ry and I are currently lining up our trips for the year, including my 26th birthday trip to Nashville! In regards to my career, I’m excited to return to work later this week with a rejuvenated mindset, ready to crush this year. In addition to my full-time job, I’m really looking forward to creating more content for the blog; whenever I found myself in a work-based funk this year, I realized it wasn’t because I was doing the creating that I was passionate about. Be on the watch for my 2020 goals coming soon!

Happy New Year!

-K.

Top 10 Reads of 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the goals I’ve set for myself this year. One such goal was to read more, as I’ve always been an avid reader, but have not always dedicated the time to it. this was the first year that I decided to take part in the Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge. I set my goal of 40 back in January, later changing it to 50 once I surpassed that goal in the fall. To my surprise, I have surpassed my goal of 50 just last week, and am ending the year having read a total of 53 books.

As my library continues to grow, I decided to compile my top 10 books of the year — a task that proved to be much more difficult than I anticipated. Since my to-read list continues to grow and I grow more ambitious, I’m thinking of doing a review of what I read each month, as opposed to a wrap up of the whole year in the coming years.

10. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

After hearing nothing but wonderful things about this book, I just had to read it. I was not disappointed. Evelyn Hugo was a big star, oh, and she was married seven times. She is spending her days out of the spotlight when she finally decides to give her final interview recounting her story (which turns out to be a full-blown tell-all biography) to a young journalist. Why does she pick her of all people? Well, you’ll have to find out for yourself in this exquisite story of success, and the price that comes with the celebrity guise.

9. Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

This was my first Ruth Ware read, and I cannot wait to pick up more of her books. I love a good thriller, especially a creepy atmospheric novel that takes place in the middle of nowhere Scotland. The novel follows letters that the former nanny is writing to her lawyer from prison trying to clear her name after one of the children she was looking after winds up dead. What I found to be most unique about this story was that the main character is not all that likeable and untrustworthy, which helps keep the reader guessing until the very end.

8. Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson

I adored this book and was invested all the way through; it was heartwarming & heartbreaking all at the same time. My only qualm about the book is that I was left with a ton of questions at the end that left me wanting more. I felt like I really got to know each character, and would definitely be interested in a sequel since the three main characters all seemed to have more to their stories.

7. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

What do you get when you combine a fairytale with horror and a dash of romance? “House of Salt and Sorrows” – the book with a genre that I never knew I needed. I was hooked when I discovered that it was the retelling of a Brothers Grimm fairytale, and I was not disappointed. I absolutely adore the haunting atmosphere of the Thaumas sisters’ world Craig created.

6. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

It is important that I preface this review with a warning: this book is certainly not for everyone and is chalk-full of content that can be triggering. Initially, this book started as a slow burn, languidly enveloping me into the atmospheric world of Yale – though, not the Yale we know today. This Yale is teeming with paranormal activity, secret societies, and occult magic. Before I knew it, I was completely captivated by this dark novel. Bardugo’s rich creativity kept me hooked with each turn of the page, and I look forward to seeing what she brings to the table with the next installment of this series.

5. American Royals by Katharine McGee

This novel follows the [fictional] descendants of George Washington as Beatrice prepares to ascend the throne as the first queen of the United States, and is narrated from 4 points of view – Beatrice, Samantha – her rebellious younger sister, Nina Gonzalez – Sam’s best friend, and Daphne Deighton – Sam’s twin brother Jefferson’s ex-girlfriend who believes she is destined to be a princess. I will read just about anything with a royal plot line, so when “American Royals” came out, I knew I had to read it immediately! Drama, deception, romance, this book has it all. I cannot wait for the next book to come out next fall.

4. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

This is not your typical murder mystery, in fact, it is one of the most magnificent books I’ve ever read. Set at a private college in New England, this book begins by exposing the reader to the fact that a group of elitist Classical scholars have killed one of their classmates. The plot is that of a dual timeline — the days leading up to the murder and the days following. It is a heavy read that left me both verklempt and bewildered for days.

3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Literally everyone needs to read this book!! Manson presents a hilariously vulgar tough love approach to creating self-awareness and learning about what matters most in life. This book has been sitting on my “to-read” shelf for years, and now I wish I would have had the opportunity to read it at a younger age.

2. The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh 

“The Beautiful” is hands-down one of my absolute favorite books I’ve read this year. Placed in the haunting setting of 1800s New Orleans, Celine Rousseau finds herself constantly facing dangerous situations. Due to this, she surrounds herself with the mysterious members of La Coer des Lions. The problem? They seem inhuman. After being a Twilight fan in high school, I couldn’t help but be at least a bit leery on another series about vampires; however, this decadent read left me savoring every page – I did not want this story to end!

1. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

“There is a reason you glance up when you first hear a melody, or tap your foot to the sound of a drum. All humans are musical. Why else would the Lord give you a beating heart?” The remarkably alluring story of Frankie Presto left me completely enchanted and tugged at my heartstrings. As a huge music fan, I loved the connection Albom wove between Frankie and the artists of yesteryear and today, creatively narrating the story by none other than music.

Honorable Mention: The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

I’m including this because I JUST finished this before this post went live. Elegant, heart-achingly beautiful, and tragic, “The Glittering Hour” hooked me after the first few chapters. Grey seamlessly interconnects society girl Selina Lennox’s story with her daughter Alice’s in a dual timeline between the years of 1925 and 1936. I adored the thorough development of characters as Grey built the plot, though it did get a bit “wordy” at times. I didn’t love the additional forbidden love initially, as it felt overdone, but Selina and Lawrence’s romance moved me to tears in the last pages of the story.

I’m always looking for some new, challenging reads to add to my list. What was your favorite book you read this year?

-K.

HOT TIPS FOR PLANNING A JOINT BACHELOR-BACHELORETTE PARTY

One of the most fun aspects of planning a wedding is planning the bachelor/bachelorette party, but how does one go about planning a joint party for the bride and the groom?

I recently stood up as the Maid of Honor in my best friend’s wedding. It was my first time standing up in a wedding as a bridesmaid and I didn’t really know what to expect. One thing that I knew I would be responsible for is planning and executing the bachelorette party. My friend and her now husband decided that they wanted a joint party out of town, so I started to build my arsenal of ideas early on to make all of their bachelor-bachelorette party dreams come true.

When I started doing research for planning, I found that there were little to no posts about how to plan a joint bachelor-bachelorette party. So I decided to take the liberty to do it myself and bring you guys the hot tips and lessons learned during my time planning:

  1. Talk to the bride and groom about their expectations. Before you do anything, ask the bride and groom: a.) What city they want to celebrate in. b.) What their must-do activities and must-see attractions are. c.) Any other must-haves to make the weekend the bachelor/bachelorette party of their dreams.
  2. Start planning months in advance; DO NOT wait until the last minute. I started planning the party and gathering ideas immediately after the couple told me where they wanted to go. While the location changed as we got closer, I had both a Google document and Pinterest board going filled with ideas that could easily transfer. This also helps with budgeting; set a timeline for payments and purchasing decor, gifts, etcetera so you don’t blow all your money at once.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I admit it, I’m a total control freak and perfectionist; I get an idea in my head and need to follow through on it. However, between my full-time job, planning the party, and maintaining my sanity, I needed an extra set of hands or two. The bride’s brother and sister-in-law graciously offered their assistance and helped play a pivotal role in the success of the party.
  4. Don’t worry about packing the schedule. It is not necessary (nor fun) to jam-pack the schedule so full of activities that you’re stressing out about making it to the activities on time and not having enough downtime. Remember: even though it is a bachelor-bachelorette party, people want to relax and enjoy their time, especially if they’re on vacation for it. I chose to leave at least one open day so that we could explore the town and do whatever it was we felt like doing at that time. 
  5. Spend a day of the trip — or at least a few hours — apart doing separate activities for the guys and ladies. It’s so important to give the bride and groom some time to focus on themselves with their guys or girls. Saturday morning of the weekend, the girls got massages at a local spa, while the guys went axe throwing. It was the perfect amount of time to focus on the bride and groom individually. Following these activities, we all met up at the hotel for a pool party prior to the evening festivities.
  6. Do not sweat the minute details.I know — easier said than done and I may or may not have broken this rule myself since it comes with the territory of being a perfectionist, but should you forget something minor or anything go awry, chances are you’re the only one who realizes it. Don’t overthink what goes in the gift bags or whether or not you have enough decor these things do not make or break the event.
  7. You absolutely CANNOT please everyone. There are only two people whose happiness matters: the bride and the groom. Double the attendees means double the opinions that do not matter. So long as the bride and groom are having fun and enjoying themselves, there’s no need to worry about anyone else.
  8. Event planning 101: If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. People will show up to reservations late and winging the night might not always go to plan, just roll with the punches. Use your best judgement to handle the situation, and move on. Remember that you need to enjoy yourself too after all of your hard work.

Do you have any more tips that you didn’t see here? Drop them in the comments!

-K

In Bloom: A Reflection on a Season of Growth

Hello my precious little corner of the intranet, I’ve missed you so much! I’ve returned from [yet another] much needed hiatus. No matter how much content I have planned or ideas I put to paper, every year I find that I need a bit of a break from the world of blogging and social media.

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Blogging has always been a creative outlet for me and a huge passion, but in the last few months, I lost the drive and passion I had for it. It honestly started to feel like a second job, and that was NEVER my intention. I found myself questioning my writing, and consistently worrying about what my people thought and if I was being judged (ridiculous I know). More often than not, we as humans have a tendency to allow fear to control us. It’s so easy to fall into the comparison game with other bloggers, especially since we only use social media as a highlight reel, as opposed to us showing what’s really going on in our lives. Truth be told, everyone has highs and lows, and sometimes the lows outweigh the highs. As Epictetus reminds us, it’s all in the way that we handle what life throws at us that makes all the difference.

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters”

– Epictetus

This year has been a whirlwind of activity so far with an abundance of change that has affected me exponentially. It’s only proper that I take advantage of the season and use the metaphor of spring to reflect on these last few months. You see, I used to loathe change; the very thought of it would make my stomach turn and my anxiety skyrocket. However, in the last few years, I’ve learned to embrace it: without change, we would never learn and grow into the people we are meant to be.

A quick recap on the last couple months

It’s been a minute since I’ve had a chance to sit down and really hash out what has been going on. Life has been moving so quickly lately that I feel as though I really haven’t had a second to catch my breath. There are a number of things that have taken place this year that are not so great, but I’m not going to focus on that right now. I have two HUGE changes in my life that I could not be more elated about that I’m so excited to share with you guys:

I got a promotion! Nearly three years into my first post-grad job, I got my first promotion to Brand & Events Coordinator. This came a couple weeks before our biggest show of the year, which was a bit daunting, but long story short, we rocked it and I’m incredibly proud of myself! I’ve been working a lot more lately because of the promotion, but I feel as though it’s instilled a new sense of confidence in me professionally. I have so many ideas and tactics that I can’t wait to share in the work place!

I’m no longer in a long distance relationship! My boyfriend is officially home for good after four long years and my heart is so full. It’s a bit of an adjustment (in the best way) figuring out how to actually date again, but in the last month, I’d say that we’ve adjusted quite nicely. We’ve both grown so much these last four years both as individuals and in our relationship so I’m excited to see where this next chapter of our relationship takes us.

Lessons Learned

The biggest takeaway from this is to give myself a break every now and then // On my recent work trip to Chicago for our biggest trade show of the year, my sinuses got the best of me and I was SO SICK come day two of the show. Five days later, I was getting ready to hop on a plane to come back home and it was not letting up whatsoever, and it didn’t help that I dove right back into work a brief 24 hours after touching down. My body was in desperate need of some R&R. That long weekend, I allowed myself to have a couple lazy days to sleep and recuperate. Let me tell you, that was the BEST decision I had made in a long time. The following Tuesday, I was feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and so much better!

Prioritize your time // With my new promotion, I’ve taken on many new responsibilities, and I noticed pretty early on that if I don’t prioritize my time wisely, NOTHING goes as planned and you’ll be asking for extensions on your deadlines. This also goes for life outside of work; I was making time for friends, family, Ryan, working out and staying on top of the few tv shows I have in my rotation, but I was going without making time for my blog and other projects that fuel my fire.

Unplug // There’s a reason why every single mental health article tells you to unplug every now and then, it WORKS! I have a difficult time turning my brain off in order to sleep — especially with so much going on lately. I’ve discovered that unplugging for at least an hour before bed helps me sleep soundly.

What and whom to give my energy to // This has been a long time coming. I’ve found that I get so wrapped up in certain aspects in life that don’t matter and aren’t worth my time nor energy. I recently read the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson and — let me tell you — this book has totally changed my perspective on so many facets of life. One of my biggest takeaways from the book was choosing my battles and stripping away all of the bs to live my best, most unapologetic life. Manson presents a hilariously vulgar tough love approach to creating self-awareness and learning about what matters most in life. This book has been sitting on my “to-read” shelf for years, and now I wish I would have had the opportunity to read it at a younger age. I highly recommend this book to everyone! 

-K.

Week in Review, Vol. VIII

Let’s just jump right in, shall we? These last couple weeks have been ROUGH. I’ve been rather aloof, and struggling with a few aspects of my personal and professional life. Whenever this happens, my health and creativity get the brunt of it and hit a low. I’ve been really good about eating well and working out all year, but for whatever reason, I really dropped the ball these last two weeks. It’s so easy to beat ourselves up on our shortcomings and allow it to consume us. I’m beyond guilty of this, and I realize that the only way to get out of those “funks” are to propel myself out of them. I’ve taken a step back from those things that are overwhelming me, and am focusing on things that I’m passionate about and make my heart soar. So here, I am sharing my latest beauty haul and some incredible music that I currently have on repeat. Enjoy!

Quick Reads:

What I’m Reading: “The Age of Light” by Whitney Scharer

What I’m Watching: The Bachelor and Manifest

What I’m Listening To:

I’ve Been Waiting // Lil Peep, ILoveMakonnen, Fall Out Boy

Apologize // grandson

Chrysalis // Empire of the Sun

bury a friend // Billie Eilish

Who Do You Love // The Chainsmokers, 5 Seconds of Summer

Genius // Sia, Diplo, Labrinth, LSD, Lil Wayne

It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You) // The 1975

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Ulta Haul:

With my dry, sensitive skin, it’s hard for me to rock a full face of makeup without feeling like I look “cake-y”. For a while now, I’ve been debating whether to invest in an “all-over concealer, foundation, or a BB cream, and finally decided to head over to Ulta to consult a professional. Naturally, I walked out with the items I needed — BB cream, cotton rounds, and dry shampoo — but I also picked up some extras.

First order of business, the BB cream. I ended up going with the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35. I loved how it applied so smoothly, and it could be layered for more coverage — personally I prefer light coverage. It’s also hydrating and has SPF to help shield your beautiful skin from the sun.

While on my Ulta trip, I also picked up Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Instant Fix Concealer 24H Concealer + Hydra Prep in the shade 1N, and YOU GUYS, I think I’ve found my new holy grail concealer! Bold statement, I know, but lately I’ve been rocking some nasty bags under my eyes (s/o to my lack of sleep) and this concealer works legit miracles. I love the way it hydrates and brightens up my eyes all day long.

With my upcoming trip to France, I’ve been searching for the perfect red lipstick. I used to love wearing lipstick when I was [fake] tan in college, but since I quit the tanning bed, I can’t help but feel like a clown with bright red lips and my pale skin. It turns out that I’ve simply been wearing the wrong shade of red for my skin tone! With the help of another consultant,  I discovered Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Love Lipstick in Bar Red (ultra matte). It’s bright and bold without making me feel like I’m waiting for my shift at the circus.

Latest Fashion Picks:

If you have yet to see J. Crew’s new spring items they released this week, you need to go check it out — gingham, pink and navy for days!!! It took a whole lot of self control to not buy everything; however, I will be picking up a few items for my France trip in a few months!

Looking Ahead:  

Things are starting to look up and I’ve been feeling more motivated than ever before! It certainly helps that the sun is shining and spring is on the horizon; though, I shouldn’t jinx myself because you never know with Michigan weather. The next few months are about to be a whirlwind with lots of change, but I could not be more ready for it!

-K.

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