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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3 Steps to Switch Up Your Winter Wardrobe

It’s that time of the year where I begin to grow tired of the same winter clothing day in and day out. As much as I love my sweaters and booties, I’ve reached the point where I feel like I have NOTHING to wear! We’ve all been there right? Closet stock full of winter essentials, you scour Pinterest and Instagram for ideas of how to change up your look, but somehow what you currently own will never look like that Parisian model’s street style look. SAME. That’s why today I’m bringing you my top three tips for upgrading your winter look with items you already have in your wardrobe.

One // Add Pops of Color

While monotone neutrals are very much in, jazz up your outfits with a pop of color or print. My personal favorites in this new year include red, blush pink or leopard print statement items. In fact, we’re seeing these colors everywhere as of late as the statement colors of choice among those at New York Fashion Week happening right now. Seen in the form of accessories, sweaters and jackets, use these pops to brighten up your gray winter days!

Two // Mix & Match

Take some of your favorite pieces from other seasons to pair them with your weather appropriate items et voila! A winter weather ready match made in heaven. Have you been dying to wear that midi skirt you couldn’t resist, but cooler temps won’t allow it? Layer it with your favorite chunky knit sweater and boots. What about a cute lace cami you can’t wait to wear? Pair it with a wool blazer and dress it up for work with trousers, or down for girls’ night out with your favorite pair of jeans. Get creative with it!

Three // Layers, Layers, and More Layers

Not only is layering on-trend, but more layers will keep you warm during chilly days. I’m notorious for layering oxfords and flannels with a chunky knit sweater or cardigan, but I’ve been looking for different ways to switch up my style with this look. Throwing on an over-sized blazer over this look or adding a statement coat is one way to rock the layered look! Try doing this with your accessories, as well; layered necklaces and scarves are a great way to heighten any look!

What are some ways you like to change up your winter wardrobe?

-K.

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Week in Review, Vol. VII

Thank God it’s finally February, I thought January would never end! I hope you are all staying warm with the crazy polar vortex that happened in the Midwest this week. Despite the miserable cold, there were a number of positives that happened this week: I was able to work from home as a result of the severe weather and I always find that I’m far more productive at home than at the office, and the Backstreet Boys released their new album DNA! I’ve been a HUGE BSB fan since the ripe age of 4, and I love that they’re still producing new music. **Peep a few of their new songs I can’t get enough of in the “What I’m Listening To” portion of this post.**  

Quick Reads:

What I’m Reading: “Final Girls” by Riley Sager

What I’m Watching: The Assassination of Gianni Versace on Netflix

What I’m Listening To:

7 Rings // Ariana Grande   

GIRL // Maren Morris

Dancing With A Stranger // Sam Smith, Normani

New Love // Backstreet Boys

OK // Backstreet Boys

Chateau // Backstreet Boys

The Way It Was // Backstreet Boys

Recent Purchases:

  • I just picked up this tortoise print Sonix phone case off Amazon, and I’m obsessed with it! I’ve been rocking a Lilly Pulitzer one for the past two years and while I love feeling summery year round, I was ready for a change. This is super affordable at $35 and is Military Drop Test Certified.
  • Because we know I can’t get enough of books (and I discovered two unused Barnes & Noble gift cards in my wallet), I ordered “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson. I try to read a handful of self-help books a year and these two have been on my “to read” list for a while now.

Looking Ahead:  

I am so incredibly proud of myself for successfully sticking to all of my goals for this year throughout the month of January, so I look forward to seeing the continuing progress I make from here on out. Many of my fitness goals resulted in predominately non-scale victories, which is great, but not quite where I want to be yet. As always, I’m working on some new content on topics I haven’t really touched yet and I’m so excited to share. Stay tuned!

-K.

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How to Combat Dry, Winter Skin

In typical millennial style, I tend to obsess over skincare and the best products to get me that youthful, healthy, glowing look. It’s no secret to my long-time readers that I’ve had dry, sensitive skin issues since I was a baby, but this winter in particular has been brutal on my skin. I’ve suddenly not been able to use products that I’ve been using religiously for years, and I feel as though I can’t keep my skin hydrated for the life of me! Sick of feeling like a reptile, I was forced out of my usual skincare routine to seek out new products and solutions to combat my dry, winter skin.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate // The first step in keeping your skin hydrated is drinking lots and lots of water. Studies show that you should drink approximately 64 oz of water daily, which seems like a lot; however, it adds up quickly if you are constantly carrying a reusable water bottle around with you. You can always find me carrying around my pink Yeti or my gold Swell bottle!

Upgrade your facial routine // As much as I hate to admit it, I really skimped on my facial care routine until I was about 20 years old (terrible, I know). When my skin suddenly had a reaction to the products I was using for years a few months ago, I spent a ton of time researching products to take it’s place. I ended up discovering OLEHENRIKSEN’s Vitamin C line through a recommendation from my aunt. As I mentioned in my previous post, I purchased the A Brighter Truth Brightening Essentials Kit by OLEHENRIKSEN, and I am OBSESSED. I’ve been using it religiously for about a month now, and have noticed a huge difference in my skin. Not only is my skin brighter and more hydrated, but these high-end products are set at affordable prices and smell amazing! I will definitely be purchasing the large versions of the products once these run out soon.

Cut down on shower time // As great as a super hot shower feels on a cold day, don’t do it! I’m guilty of doing so, and recently noticed that when I get out of the shower, my skin is red, blotchy and more dry than it was when I got into the shower. Now I try to keep my showers under 10 minutes, and use lukewarm-warm water.

Moisturize // Immediately when I get out of the shower and wake up in the morning, I moisturize from head to toe. I recently discovered NIVEA Skin Firming Hydration Body Lotion, and my skin has never been more smooth and firm. I noticed a dramatic difference in only two weeks!

What are some of your favorite tactics and products to repel dry, winter skin?

-K.

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Week In Review, Vol. VI

Well guys, we made it through the first full week of 2019, and I have to say, I’m killing it in the goals category! Believe it or not, I’ve been super good about sticking to my 2019 plan, doing my best to incorporate my goals into my routine in order to banish bad habits, and form new, healthier ones. How are you guys doing with your goals so far? I admit that midway through this week I had that “ohhhh do I HAVE to work out today??” feeling; however, once I pushed through my workout, I felt SO much better, and managed to have some of the best sleep I’d had in a while that night.

I managed to do a little post-Christmas sale shopping within the last couple weeks, so I have plenty of great finds to share with you today. Both of the sales that I shopped the week after Christmas are still going on so be sure to check those out; it’s a great way to get more bang for your buck on any gift cards you received over the holidays!

Quick Reads:

What I’m Reading: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

What I’m Watching: Dirty John and Vanderpump Rules on Bravo!

What I’m Listening To:

Sunflower // Post Malone, Swae Lee

Hospitalized // Broods

No Place // Backstreet Boys

Favourite Thing // Fleur East

Recent Purchases:

  • I’ve been looking for a new, affordable skin care line since I randomly had a reaction to the Clinique set I was initially using. My aunt recommended OLEHENRIKSEN’S A Brighter Truth vitamin C products. In researching these products, I found the A Brighter Truth Brightening Essentials Kit. Since I’m one of those people who likes to try sample products before I commit, this kit gives me the opportunity to try out the top three products I was looking at. I’ve already noticed a difference in my skin after two weeks, and will include more about this product in an upcoming post.
  • J. Crew Factory is having an awesome sale at the moment, so I picked up this adorable gingham dress, which will be perfect for summer parties or my upcoming trip to France!
  • Also at the J. Crew Factory sale, I purchased the work blazer simply because my current blazer has seen better days.
  • At the Banana Republic sale, I found this plaid racer-neck sheath dress, which will be perfect for work, as well as the Daria sunglasses. Unfortunately, they don’t have the exact tortoise shell print ones that I have, but the black are super chic. Plus, the shape will look fabulous on any face shape!

Looking Ahead:  Today’s goal is to purge my closet after telling myself that I’m going to for over a week now LOL. I’m still working on a content calendar for Q1, so – as always – feel free to comment below what topics you’d like to see on the blog this year!

What have you accomplished in your first week of 2019?

-K.

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Hello 2019!

Gearing up for the year ahead

Happy New Year, everyone! I can hardly believe it, but 2019 is here and I’m gearing up for a big year ahead of me. Not only do I currently already have big plans in the works, but I have some BIG expectations for 2019. I’m not usually the girl to claim that this will be “my year”, but I have a really good feeling about this year. Heading into 2019 with a positive mindset, solid goals, and enthusiasm is the formula for creating a great year for yourself.

Goals

It’s safe to say that I have the tendency to get a little too ambitious when setting goals for the year. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it doesn’t allow me to actually focus on achieving these goals, and I tend to slack on more than one (oops). As a means of holding myself accountable for these goals, I discovered and downloaded the HabitBull app on my phone. I’m using the free version that allows you to track up to five goals (there is a small fee to upgrade to the premium version that allows you to track more). It’s only been about a week, and I already feel as though I’ve progressed a lot in such a short time with these goals, so I’m excited to see how the rest of the year plays out!

  1. Be Mindful // This is my biggest priority this year. My intention with this goal is two-fold: to be conscious about what I’m putting in and on my body, as well as who and what I’m giving my energy to. Last year, despite physical and mental health being a major goal, I didn’t get where I wanted to be with it. I looked at it more as a chore, rather than a blessing that I have the ability to work out and choose what I eat. This year, I’m being hyper-conscious of what I’m eating, what workouts I’m doing, and how my body feels every day in order to be a healthier person; after all, we are only given one body, so why not take the best care of it. Additionally, in being mindful of who and what I’m giving my energy to, I plan to accomplish tasks one at a time and slow down in order to enjoy what I’m spending my time doing and who I’m with. In doing so, I’m cutting out negative people and tasks that aren’t necessary/don’t help me achieve what I need to or nourish my soul.
  2. Meditate, pray, and/or journal everyday // While I did this for the past few years, I didn’t make as much of a conscious effort as I would have liked to, and certainly didn’t go it every day. This year, I’m making it a part of my nightly routine. So far I’m finding that it is incredibly peaceful sitting down with my journal and Bible before bed and taking that quiet time for myself and God.
  3. Continue to expand my knowledge through an online class and Duolingo // I’ve said it before that if I could be a professional student, I would! Since I can’t, however, I plan on continuing my post-grad tradition of taking another online course to expand my knowledge. I adored the PRISM course by PR Couture that I took last year, so I’m debating if I want to do something similar to that, or take a different route with a field I’m not as knowledgable in. Additionally, I learned that one year is not enough time to become fluent in another language, so I’m continuing on with the Duolingo app this year.
  4. Be kind to myself // It is easy to get angry with yourself when things don’t go as planned or you’re not hitting your goals you’ve set as quickly as you’d like. I know I’m guilty of this and beat myself up about my shortcomings last year, so I’m making an effort to change that. This year, I’m not going to be as hard on myself — taking a rest day if I need it (not a rest week), eating a sweet treat on special occasions, etc. This way, I’m helping myself both physically and mentally.

Health Goals

  1. Drink more water // I’m really good about this most of the time at work; however, when I’m home and running around, this is something I’m HORRIBLE at. I’ve started carrying around a water bottle at all times so that I don’t have an excuse to not drink it. Also, I eliminated pop and most fruit drinks and cut down on (and mostly out, save special occasions) alcohol, so water, coffee and tea are really all that I have to choose from at the moment.
  2. Be active for a minimum of 30 minutes 5-6 days a week // Fun fact: I HATE working out, but I love the feeling after a good workout. I have a hard time with clear cut workout plans because I get bored with them. Plus, I do not like going to the gym so all of my workouts are done at home. Luckily, YouTube has a ton of FREE workout videos ranging from yoga to pilates to Barre and so much more, giving me the opportunity to switch up my workouts daily if I wanted to. By using this free resource, I’m saving money while still getting my sweat on.
  3. Cut out pop // This is a big one for me because I love Coca-Cola! So far, I’m doing well with this and not even craving it — then again, it’s only been a week, so we’ll see where it goes from here.

What’s Next?

As aforementioned, my calendar for this year is already filling up. I’m super excited to return to Europe this summer on a girls’ trip to take on FRANCE! This means that I’ll need to be more diligent in completing my Duolingo French course these next few months. In other exciting news, next week, Ry and I celebrate five years together, but that’s not even the best announcement… 2019 marks the end of long distance for us! Furthermore, I’ve received a few save the dates for weddings this year, plus I get to be the Maid of Honor at my best friend’s wedding this fall! My heart is soaring just thinking about how many exciting things are happening this year, and I can’t wait to share my stories with all of you for yet another year!

What are some goals/things you are looking forward to in 2019?

-K.