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.

2018: Year In Review

Long time no chat, friends! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, fun, and food. I most certainly did, which is why I haven’t been very active on my social channels nor the blog. I feel as though the holidays are a great time to unplug from the digital world, and focus on the things that mean the most to us. 2018 was a whirlwind to say the least – it started off slowly for the first six months, and then before I knew it, December snuck up on me.

Memories: A Brief Overview

So many incredible things happened this year – I’ve reached new highs and learned so much with Keeping It Kourtney, I’ve seen my boyfriend more than I have in the last 3 years combined since his new move, my little brother graduated from college, and my best friend got engaged! One of my personal achievements this year was this March when I successfully planned and executed my first out of state trade show for work. Additionally, I’ve grown a lot stronger in my faith in recent years, but this year, I made the decision to put it into practice more, which has made a huge positive impact in my daily life.

Lesson Learned: My Biggest Achievement

As much as I hate to admit it, I often find that I compare myself to other bloggers. I’ve based some of my content on things that I think want people to hear, rather than things I’m passionate about, and I allow the opinions of other people to cloud my own judgement of myself and what I should/shouldn’t post out of fear of rejection or criticism. The last two years, I’ve tried desperately to keep up the stereotypical “blogger image”, and pushed out content that I wasn’t 100% happy with just to keep up the consistency. Bottom line: It simply wasn’t me.

Earlier this year, I took the PRISM course by PR Couture, which made me deep dive into what exactly my brand is, and — in turn — who I am and how I want to portray myself to the world through my blog. While I completed the course a few months ago, the projects that I worked on didn’t fully resonate with me until shortly after when I began doubting my blogging ability. I’d been at this for about 5 1/2 years, and I had no paid collaborations or ad posts on Instagram to show for it. There’s nothing that will bring you to a hard stop like doubt and anxiety, and it really made me reflect on my history as a blogger. You know what I discovered? It’s totally okay, because that’s not why I started blogging in the first place.

Writing is my greatest passion, and I love being able to share my thoughts and ideas here. The internet is all about connecting and creating a community, and I’ve decided that I no longer want to push out content just to consistently create content — I want to write with a purpose. That’s why, when I was overcome with doubt, I didn’t give up on blogging. No, I don’t have the most readers nor an abundance of Instagram followers, but is that what this is really all about? Not at all. I decided to let my faith and passion outweigh the fear in me, and continue on because it was something that I love.

Keeping It Kourtney has been my space for nearly six years now, and it’s constantly evolving with me and my life. As a 24 year old woman navigating adulthood with a passion for writing, fashion, beauty, travel, food, and so much more that I haven’t even touched yet, I hope to connect with other like-minded women who can relate to what I’m thinking, doing, and feeling.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. Needless to say, this was a MAJOR breakthrough for me this year, and I’m beyond proud of myself for overcoming the mental hurdles that tend to accompany blogging and social media.

A Concise Travel Summary

2018 was a big year in travel for me. Between return trips to places like Chicago and Mackinac Island to new locations including Atlanta and Vegas, my wanderlust was definitely fulfilled. In February, I partook in a road trip to Chicago with my mom, brother, and family friends to Chicago to see Hamilton. March took me to Atlanta, Georgia for a trade show for work. I flew out to visit my boyfriend in Maryland this May, where I returned to Frederick and Washington D.C., but also got to explore Baltimore and — one of my new favorites — Annapolis. Our family road trip in June provided me the chance to relish the beauty of my home state, and return to Traverse City and Mackinac Island. My final trip of the year was to Las Vegas this October; while it was a short trip, we had a blast and I can’t wait to return in 2019.

In Closing…

Thank you for sharing another year with me in my little corner of the internet. I may not post as much as I’d like to balancing work and family life, but if there is anything my readers take away from this particular post, it’s that I fully intend on putting my best foot forward coming into the new year. 2019 is bringing out the raw, unadulterated part of me that I’ve been itching to put out there for a while, but didn’t know how. I look forward to sharing this with you in the years to come.

Cheers to the new year!

-K.

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Week in Review, Vol. V

Happy December! It’s the most magical time of the year and, like most of you, I’ve been in full Christmas prep mode. Holiday engagements are already in full swing for me; In fact, I’m currently writing this while cooking for my annual Wine & Cheese Party with a few of my close friends and sorority sisters! Most of what’s been going on lately is solely work-related, and not much else besides holiday prep, so let’s dive right in, shall we?

Preparing for the holidays with J. Crew

Quick Reads:

What I’m Reading: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

What I’m Watching: Madam Secretary 

What I’m Listening To:

Sundress // A$AP Rocky

Roses (with Juice WRLD ft. Brendon Urie) // benny blanco

Project Dreams // Marshmello

I Couldn’t Be More In Love // The 1975

Miracle // CHVRCHES

Recent Purchases:

  • I have been obsessed with this J. Crew crewneck sweater for a while now, and finally took the plunge during their 50% off sale. I’m really into emerald and hunter green right now, but don’t own much of it, so I purchased it in the color “old forest”. I’m beyond ecstatic to style it!
  • Continuing on the theme of J. Crew: During the same aforementioned sale, I bought this belted sheath dress in Black Watch tartan for Christmas Eve. I love the classic look of the dress, and it’s so comfortable! Plus, it’s versatile – I can wear it for dress-y events such as our Christmas Eve party, or I can pair it with a blazer and wear it to the office. 
  • I also just got into essential oils, and purchased a premium starter kit with a diffuser after attending a Young Living party and learning more about them. With my health issues, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try the holistic approach. I’ll definitely be writing a post on my experience with them in the future when I have been able to properly test them out!

Latest Fashion Pick: Kate Middleton has recently been photographed sporting a velvet bow in her hair numerous times this season, which is giving me some serious inspiration. This next “it” accessory can be found everywhere from Target to Nordstrom.

Looking Ahead: 2018 is quickly drawing to a close, and I’ve been gearing up for Christmas! It’s my absolute favorite time of the year, but it’s also the busiest between preparing for the holidays, and wrapping up work for the year.  I’ve been working hard on both end of the year content, as well as my content calendar for Q1 of next year. I’m incredibly excited to try out some different types of content I haven’t touch yet, so stay tuned!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

-K.

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Winter 2018 Trend Watch

The weather outside is frightful, but a cozy sweater is so delightful! As much as I love the holidays, I’m not the biggest fan of the weather that comes along with it. Luckily, this season’s trends include options that will keep you warm whilst still looking fabulous!

Animal Print // One of fall’s biggest trends is trickling into winter, so don’t put away your favorite animal prints just yet! Specifically, we’ll be seeing a lot of leopard and snakeskin this season, as demonstrated at New York Fashion Week. Some of my favorite items this season include these snakeskin boots from Zara, this pleated leopard midi from J. Crew, and this leopard print skinny belt from Loft.

Puffer Coats // Great news for those of you who, like me, live in areas that are impacted by cold temperatures and snow in the winter, puffer coats are in! Last winter, I finally decided to invest in last year’s version of  this The North Face parka, and it was one of the best decisions for my winter wardrobe, checking the boxes for both warm and fashionable. Some other great options include this Columbia parka and this Patagonia down jacket.

Slouchy Boots // You heard that right — your go-to trend from the 2000s is back! Paired with jeans, dresses, really anything, this style is incredibly versatile. Dress your outfit up with these Jessica Simpson leather boots, or keep it casual with these Kelly & Katie suede boots, OR vice versa because that’s how versatile they are!

Plaid // If you’ve followed me for any amount of time you already know how crazy I am for plaid — shoutout to my Catholic school days for instilling this in me. Naturally, I’m over the moon about this trend and had the most difficult time not actually purchasing all the items I stumbled upon in my research. I’m living for this belted sheath dress in Black Watch tartan from J. Crew, this big bow midi skirt from J. Crew Factory, and this Irish Lambswool Scarf from L.L. Bean (which I already have in Royal Stewart & love).

Statement Sweaters // Knitwear is a key player in winter fashion every year, but this year’s focus is on statement sweaters. Think wacky prints, embellishments, statement sleeves, embroidered phrases, etcetera. This jeweled embellished pullover from J. Crew hits most of these points, but I’m also loving Francesca’s Karly Open Back Sweater, which is available in so many cute winter colors!

Did I miss a trend that you are most looking forward to flaunting this winter? Let me know in the comments below!

-K.

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Week In Review, Vol. IV

Week In Review, Vol. IV

Hey hey hey! It’s been a minute since my last update, and life has been crazy lately so it’s time for a quick review of what’s been happening on my side of town. Since my quick trip to Vegas last month, I’ve been on hiatus with blogging since life happens; however, this is all starting to turn around this week. Life is slowing down a bit, the holiday season is upon us, and I could not be more thrilled! I love the holidays. Yes, I’m 100% that person that starts drinking peppermint mochas and listening to Christmas music right after Halloween NO SHAME! I digress, let’s dive into the recap, shall we?

Me and my guy after the wedding festivities in the Flamingo Garden

Vegas Recap: In early October, Ryan and I took a brief trip to Las Vegas for his friend’s wedding. When I say brief, I mean VERY brief…  like less than 48 hours brief. Anywho, despite it being super quick we had so much fun! Honestly, I never had a desire to go to Vegas, but we had so much fun in such a short amount of time that we cannot wait to return next year for my best friend’s bachelorette party. We stayed at the Flamingo, which is also where we spent most of our time in the casino, but  I was bummed that we didn’t get to see much of the strip on foot, though I did get to visit the Venetian while I waited for Ry to arrive, which was super cool and slightly trippy. Once he arrived, we all headed to Fremont Street (aka Old Las Vegas) for the evening. Since it was a Sunday night there was not a ton going on, but we enjoyed two of the outdoor concerts taking place. Our last adventure of the trip was ziplining from the roof of the Rio Hotel 500 feet above Vegas. If you know me, you know that I HATE heights! It ended up being an extraordinary experience, but one that I’m fine only doing once. If you have any recommendations of things we should see or do on our next trip to Vegas, leave a comment below!

Quick Reads:

What I’m Reading: A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

What I’m Watching: Manifest

What I’m Listening To:

Baby // Clean Bandit, Marina & the Diamonds, and Luis Fonsi

Without Me // Halsey

Speechless // Dan + Shay

Burning Man // Dierks Bentley & Brothers Osborne

Lover, Leaver // Greta Van Fleet

Higher // Social House

Mona Lisa // Lil Wayne & Kendrick Lamar

Close to Me // Ellie Goulding,   

Recent Purchases:

  • I just ordered these adorable leopard print flats from James Ascher and I’m hoping to get in a few wears with them before the snow falls!
  • Also ordered from James Ascher is the navy and orange Window Pane Open Front Shawl Jacket. The link was removed from the website, but you can see it in my Instagram fashion highlight!
  • I also recently purchased these Ellie Chelsea boots from Target for only $30 to replace my favorite Ralph Lauren booties (RIP) and I’m obsessed. I try to not spend a ton of money on boots for the mere fact that Michigan winters can be pretty gnarly and the sidewalk salt can destroy boots.
  • Finally, I purchased a Quip toothbrush. I’ve had my eye on it for a while, and have heard nothing but good things about the brand so I’m excited to see if it makes a difference. What really drew me to it was the price; it’s super affordable compared to other electric toothbrushes.

Latest Fashion Picks:

  • It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of layering, and this tweed coat from J. Crew would be the perfect top layer as the cold weather rolls in. Plus, tweed is always in style.
  • Believe it or not, my mom actually just picked up a pair of these Faux-Suede Stevie Pants from Old Navy and I want them in every color. Not only are they comfy, but they can be dressed up or down for most occasions.

Looking Ahead: In October, I fell off the workout wagon, so I’ve gotten back on the workout grind with some at home Pilates exercises. That being said, I plan on putting together a health/fitness post about the plan I’m sticking to for the next year, that will most likely come out in early January in lieu of my 2019 goals post. I also am excited to have the next week off of work for the Thanksgiving holiday, which will give me plenty of time to crank out some fun content I have for the blog through the end of the year! 

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

-K.

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A Dinner Party Conversation

“If you could invite five guests — dead or alive — to a dinner party, who would you invite?”

I’m sure you’ve probably heard this question at some point in your life — a networking event, icebreaker in class, on a date, etc. In my 2018 Reading Round-Up post, I mentioned that the book  The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle inspired me to write this post because I think it’s such a fascinating notion. I have heard it before, but my answer changes vastly every time I hear it.

In the book, the main character Sabrina, finds herself face-to-face with people from her past, her best friend, and Audrey Hepburn when she walks into her 30th birthday dinner. This leads to her having some serious revelations throughout the evening. As with any dinner party, I debated going one of two ways with this post — the fun route or the serious route — as I have several people I’d love to extend a theoretical invite to. While I thoroughly enjoyed Sabrina’s story, I’d like to think my fantasy dinner party would be a little more fun and upbeat. After all, we can’t take life too seriously!

Guest #1 would be Andy Cohen. If you know me at all, you know that I’m obsessed with everything Bravo! Seriously my mom and I have watched Real Housewives since day 1, so I basically grew up on it. Every time I watch Andy on the RH reunions (or any other Bravo show reunion), I can’t help but think how incredibly funny, smart, and patient he is. Additionally, he knows how to get a conversation going, and keep it flowing. All of these traits, in my humble opinion, add up to the perfect dinner party guest.

My second guest would be Kate Middleton. She is my top fashion/beauty icon, and I admire how caring and philanthropic she is.  I feel as though Kate would {literally} bring to the table a ton of great conversations. I mean think about it: she’s well-traveled, impeccably dressed, and who wouldn’t want to know what goes on behind the walls of Kensington Palace?

Lady Gaga is guest 3! I have been a fan of Gaga’s since she first came on the scene with “Just Dance” circa 2008, and she’s been in my list of top favorite artists since then. I swear hearing her sing Speechless acapella at her concert I attended my junior year of high school was a near-religious experience. Not only is she incredibly talented, but she has one of the biggest hearts. She’s one of those artist whom I am constantly in awe of her artistic talents and she always keeps everyone guessing what will come next.

Of course I have to invite my celebrity crush since I was 13, Zac Efron. I mean, when else would I have the opportunity to meet him! Based on a number of his recent films, it sure seems like he knows how to liven up a party, even if it is a simple dinner party!

Last, but certainly not least, the final guest would be Chrissy Teigen. If you follow her on social media, or – let’s be real – if you own a tv, you know that she’s one of the funniest people in this planet. Can we also talk about how cute her children are?!?

Now it’s your turn to tell me — What five people, dead or alive, would you invite to your imaginary dinner party? Leave a comment below!

-K.

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Let’s Get Spooky: Local Haunts

In the spirit of Halloween, I’ve decided to go “off-brand” for today’s post, and write about a topic that is incredibly fascinating to me: hauntings. Call me strange, but I love listening to ghost stories, and learning about the history of so-called haunted places. Now, I’ve never actually gone “ghost hunting” — I don’t think I have the guts for that — but I have had a number of strange experiences in my life that have made me a believer (but that’s a story for another day!).

Being the history nerd that I am,  I’ve recently been doing a bit of research on my town’s history out of pure curiosity. Its roots date back to 1764 when Fort Sinclair — a fort and trading post — was resurrected, so it is teeming with history waiting to be explored. In doing this research, I stumbled upon some information regarding my first supposedly haunted location that I had no idea about. Let’s dive in, shall we?

The Haunted Inn

I just recently found out that an Inn less than five minutes away from my house is ~supposedly~ haunted (not disclosing the name at this time)! Built in the early 1800s, the Inn served as a boarding house to farmers. Later on, it was redeveloped into an inn, and today it runs as an Irish pub and inn. While there is no specific story to preface the paranormal activity that occurs today, rumor has it that one of the ghosts likes to photo bomb guests all throughout the establishment. Other activity the Inn sites includes the apparition of a woman in white on the stairs and in the upstairs hallway, shadow figures in two rooms specifically, and the sounds of children laughing. Full disclaimer that I have not experienced any of these myself, but you bet that I’m going to keep my eyes peeled from here on out!

The Legend of Morrow Road

Okay, so I’ve known about the legend of Morrow Road since I was about five or six years old. While it is based a few towns over, the legend is notorious in our area. There were rumors of a movie being filmed based on the story a few years ago; however, nothing ever came into fruition. There are several versions of the story that I’ve heard over the years, so I’ll give you guys the one I’ve heard of most often.

Legend has it that a young woman had a child out of wedlock, and dropped her baby off on the side of the road because she no longer wanted it. Feeling guilty on her way home, she decided to turn around and go back for her child; however, upon her return, the baby was gone. She stayed to search for the baby, but died in the process. Today she haunts the area near the bridge still searching for her baby. If you park your car on the bridge at night, turn it off and honk the horn three times you’re supposed to see the woman and hear the baby cry. Other versions of the story say that you’re supposed to see her with blood on her hands and she leaves bloody hand prints on your car windows while screaming “where’s my baby?”, but I think that’s a little far-fetched.

I’ve been down the road numerous times, but have yet to see or hear anything. Several friends and relatives claim that they’ve seen something in the woods, heard the baby cry or have seen the lady. Maybe I’m not doing all the steps properly, or maybe I’m just one of the lucky ones not scarred from the experience, but I’m definitely willing to try it again!

Do you believe in ghosts or have any ghost stories you’d like to share? Leave me a comment below, I’d love it hear it!

-K.

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