Back to School Tips from a {Former} Type-A Student

Summer is quickly drawing to a close which means students are gearing up to head back to school. As strange as it seems, once upon a time, back to school season was my favorite! My parents still joke to this day that if I could be a professional student, I would – which isn't necessarily wrong. In honor of my former favorite season, I thought I would share some helpful tips that helped me conquer the school year, and I hope they help you out as well!

  • Buy an agenda and keep up on it// I cannot tell you how many times my agenda saved my ass throughout college. When you get your syllabi at the beginning of the semester, take the time to fill out when each assignment is due and test dates. You can even color code your classes if you're feeling ambitious. This also helps for extra-curricular activities such as Greek life and sports. Some of my favorite agendas throughout the years include Lilly Pulitzer, Erin Condren, and Day Designer.
  • If you're new to campus or if the buildings you have classes in are foreign to you, check out your daily class route// Once upon a time, an ill-prepared freshman Kourtney got lost on her way to class and had to walk in embarrassingly late on the first day. Don't let yourself be that Kourtney! A day or two before classes start, take a stroll around campus and make yourself familiar with the daily route you'll be taking to class.
  • Take advantage of free amenities on campus// Let's face it, being a college student can be pricey. If your schedule allows, take the time to attend the various back-to-school fairs occurring on campus. You'll be able to snag some free goodies including t-shirts, food and school supplies. At my alma mater, we even had local businesses bring coupons with discounts for students. Other free amenities include the cafeteria if you live on campus (I always took an extra piece or two of fresh fruit to snack on during the day), the gym on most campuses, and the library – these will be your best friends during your time at university.
  • Don't neglect your physical health// College is stressful; You'll be driven to eat a lot of foods that are not the best for you, and your physical health may take a backseat when times get tough. Make an effort to be active at least three days a week. Whether you're going to the gym or taking an extra long route to class if timing allows, every little bit helps keep off the freshmen 15.
  • Learn to take proper notes// There are several blog posts and YouTube videos such as this one to help you learn how to take effective notes. You may need to try several different varieties before you find the one that fits you, but once you find the one that works, stick to it!
  • Your professors will offer office hours, utilize them// Whether or not you're struggling in a class, it's always a good idea to build a relationship with your professors. This is one thing I regret the most from college – I did not use office hours enough. If your professors see you putting in the work and effort, they'll go the extra mile to help you succeed.

What are some of your back to school tips? Best of luck to all returning students!

-K

One Year Later…

img_1387A year ago today I closed an amazing chapter of my life and opened a new one to adulthood and the “real world”! This year has brought loads of changes, life lessons, and adventures. Following graduation, I moved back home to my parents’ house which is a huge adjustment in itself. I also had to give up dance and became distant from my sorority; both things that I ate, slept, and breathed throughout my college career. I accepted my first corporate desk job which has been a whirlwind, and has taken a toll on my body — when they say your metabolism decreases after a certain age, they aren’t kidding.

Long story short, adjusting to post-grad life can be difficult. So, in true Kourtney form, here is some advice for those graduating this year and moving on to bigger, better things:

1. People will walk out of your life after graduation. Sometimes it’s because you live too far away, or minimal effort put in by both parties. If you thought having a social life in college was hard, just wait until you move away from all of your college friends and you all have 9-5 jobs. This was one of the HARDEST lessons that I learned this year after being around my close friends nearly 24/7. Just know that your closest friends will still make an effort to be in your life.

2. Don’t be afraid to take risks in the job market. I won’t sugarcoat it — finding a job post-grad is difficult. Luckily, I found my current job just a couple months after graduation, but I never in a million years thought I would end up where I currently am.

3. Take the time to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. It’s easy to forget to take care of your body once you’re no longer walking miles across campus and don’t have a free gym right at your fingertips (well, at least we did at OU). As aforementioned, I didn’t realize just how much having a desk job would take a toll on my body. Between regular desk snacking, and sitting all day, I discovered the importance of getting in some sort of workout on a daily basis and eat healthy. Also, mental health days are definitely necessary; make sure you relax outside of work, and try not to let it run your life.

4. Do not stress about student loans. This is one thing that I cannot stress enough! The same day I graduated, I had a total mental breakdown about not having a job right out of college and seeing the amount of zeros following how much I owed back in loan payments. Something that I’ve learned since is that coming out of college with debt is absolutely normal. Educate yourself on the various options you have to pay back your loans and choose the one that works best for your situation.

5. Don’t forget to have fun. Yes, being a “full-on” adult sucks. Remember that although you may be working your ass off in the office, you NEED to take time to enjoy time with your friends and loved ones. Eat cake, drink champagne, and celebrate your hard work; life is too short to be miserable!

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2017!

-K.

4th Anniversary of Blogging

4th Anniversary of Blogging

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Four years ago today, I started on a journey that would change my life.

It all started with an assignment in my Writing 160 class my freshman year of college. We had the creative freedom to come up with a passion project – write about something that sparks your interest and make it come to life. While most people made Tumblr pages and short presentations to talk about their passions, I decided to start a fashion blog. Thus, With Love, Koko Beth was born.

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Bright-eyed, bushy tailed, freshman me and my best friend/roommate, Kelsey

 

 

I enjoyed writing my blog so much, that I decided to change my major from so that I could pursue my passion of writing and social media. Going from nursing to communication and public relations was a huge 180, but that’s a story for another day!

As much as I love fashion, the more I progressed, the more I wanted the freedom to write about whatever I wanted to. I have a lot of interests in a lot of different areas, so instead of limiting myself to just fashion, I made the switch to a new domain with my sights set on being a lifestyle blogger. I wanted to be able to connect with more people on a deeper level while still writing about fashion, beauty, and so much more.

Three years, two name alterations, one domain change, and a boatload of layouts later, I couldn’t be more happy with what Keeping it Kourtney has developed into. I know that there will be a ton of changes ahead (I get bored easily), but I can’t wait to share more of my thoughts and stories with my readers.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and growing with me, cheers to what’s next to come!

-K.

New Year, New Goals // 2017


As I mentioned in my previous post, this year has been a year of constant change and adjustment for me — some good, some bad, some very necessary. I’m not usually one for setting resolutions because I believe the true definition of resolution is “starting a new ‘lifestyle’ for two weeks, and ultimately giving it up for your love of cake, sleep, etc.”. However, I have no qualms against setting personal, realistic goals. In the hopes of creating accountability for myself, I’ve decided to post my personal goals for the upcoming year.

1. Take better care of myself; the past few years were spent getting sick a lot more than the average human should.

2. Drink more water.

3. Work out at least four times a week.

4. Find a work out I enjoy.

5. Focus more on finishing books than finishing Netflix series.

6. Travel as much as possible (Italy here I come)!

7. Positivity, positivity, positivity! There is far too much negativity in the world, and I’ll be much happier than I am when I’m in a, as much as I hate to admit it, cynical state of mind.

8. Become fluent in a new language.

9. Make more out of each and every day; One of 2016’s lessons is that life is far too short.

What are some of your goals for the new year?

-K.

A Year in Review // Where is the Love?


When I initially sat down to write this post, my intentions were to reflect on my personal life this year and how the copious amount of change in my life has molded me in such a short period of time. However, something has been on my mind for a while that needs to be addressed in regards to this past year.

2016 has been quite the year for me and, based on the countless memes and social posts I’ve seen, I’m not the only one that’s looking forward to a new year. With the endless amount of change that’s occurred, it’s easy to feel a little lost; this is the second time where I feel like I’m losing sight of where I’m going in life and what’s going on. Even more so, it seems like the whole world has lost sight of what matters most in life. More often than not, negative news pours in — death, disaster, the seemingly never-ending war, hate, violence, the list goes on and on.  When does it end?

A few years ago, the Black Eyed Peas released the song “Where is the Love?” Seven years later, this song still remains extremely valid in regards to current events.

“People killin’, people dyin’, children hurt and you hear them cryin’. Can you practice what you preach? Or would you turn the other cheek? Father, father, father help us; send some guidance from above. ‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’ where is the love?”

I challenge you to listen to the words of the song, and think about what you can do in your personal life to help make the world a better place. Even if it’s the smallest act of kindness, it could mean the world to someone.

Merry [belated] Christmas and God bless.

-K.

 

New Product Alert: Erin Condren Life Planner 2017

Hey everyone, I have some exciting news this week!

I’ve made the life-changing decision to buy an Erin Condren Life Planner and I will never be the same. Okay, so maybe I’m being a little overdramatic with the whole “life-changing” thing, but, in all reality, the planning aspect of my life is forever changed. This is my first purchase from Miss Condren, but I’m sure it will not be my last.

A bit of background: Since a young age, I always thoroughly plan every aspect of my life utilizing an agenda. I have yet to find one that fully caters to my personal preferences; however, the Erin Condren Life Planner is completely customizable to fit your preferences. After witnessing the joy and excitement that these planners have given some of my sorority sisters, I was convinced that I NEEDED this agenda in my life.

So let’s get to the good stuff…

As I previously stated, EC planners are totally customizable for your personal preferences. This year’s planners allow you to change the covers, the color of the coil, the layout AND the color of your layout.


I chose to stick with the platinum coil (choosing another coil is a $10 up charge), but you can also choose from black, gold or rose gold. All of the covers are interchangeable (so I will definitely be buying more) and many allow you to put your own creative twist on them such as adding your name, monogram, personal photos or simply changing the background. Since I had such a difficult time picking just one for my initial purchase I had my mom pick the Own Kind of Beautiful cover for me. It originally comes in lavender, but since I’m not a huge purple fan, I changed the background to pool blue. They also have permanent covers this time around, but I wanted to have the option of changing my cover.

When you finally receive your Erin Condren, it comes this adorable box and includes a bonus postcard and sticker. I also received the extra ‘cheers’ gift labels since it was my first purchase from EC.

Both the front and back covers have these dry-erase boards for extra notes you need to keep throughout your day/week/month.

I chose to purchase the 18-month planner that begins July 2016 and goes through December 2017 just so I could get more bang for my buck (there is a 12-month planner option if that’s more your style). The body of the planner allows you to choose from two interior color themes: neutral or color, and three layout options: vertical, horizontal and hourly. I chose the neutral color theme and the horizontal layout simply because I’ve only ever used horizontal planners and the neutral theme allows me to decorate my weeks however I want with Washi tape without having to stick to a color scheme.

Even though I have the neutral color theme, there are still these little pops of color accompanied by inspiring messages at the beginning of each month.

Near the back of the book, EC provides stickers to use throughout your planner to mark important events, appointments, and even trips to the gym. There are a few plain colored sticker pages as well so that you may write whatever you wish on them. I plan on using them to plan my blog posts!

With each EC planner, you will also receive this small, transferable perpetual planner so that you will always have your important dates on you without having to carry your life planner around everywhere.

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Finally, the last little extra you receive with your planner is the plan for it pouch which can be attached to the planner using a coil clip or it can simply be stowed away in your purse or backpack. The clear plastic pouch comes with a large coil clip, two pay it forward cards so your friends can also shop EC, a sample sticker book (sticker book sold separately), and three compliment cards.

I am so ridiculously excited to start using my planner. If you are interested in purchasing from EC, feel free to shop here and receive 10% off of your first purchase!

-K

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Fear, Faith & the End of an Era

Fear, Faith & the End of an Era

This week marks the end of an era; on Friday I will walk across the stage at my college graduation and receive the most expensive piece of paper I will ever own in my life (unless I decide to eventually go to grad school, but that’s an entirely different topic). I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m happy, but, above all, I’m terrified. Lately, when I tell people I’m graduating this week, their response is something along the lines of, “OH! How wonderful! So what are you doing after college?” Well sir/ma’am, that’s a great question. So great of a question that I don’t have an answer. Actually, I do have an answer: I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to experience all that I possibly can right now with the man of my dreams. Then, I want to land the perfect dream job and build a fabulous career, get married and start a beautiful family. There’s only one problem… what I want and what is actually going to happen are two very different things.

From a young age, we get these ideas in our heads of what we want to do and who we want to be. At 18 we’re supposed to decide what we want to do with our lives, but what they don’t tell you is that college is where you completely lose yourself and often don’t come out the same person as you came in as. I’m relatively the same person as I was when I started college, but I have changed so much even in the past six months. Most of this change is good brought on from good and bad experiences and lessons learned; however, I have grown more and more fearful throughout college. I have no idea where this fear has come from or why I have it, but I have struggled with it my whole life. The even bigger problem is that it’s not just one fear, it’s multiple and they fill my head on a daily basis. This is supposed to be the most exciting time of my life, and yet my anxiety holds me back from letting the happiness take over.

From snakes to clowns to losing people I love from death or some other God-forsaken circumstance, I know that so many people feel the exact same way I do. While I’m well aware that many people share the same fears that I do, I still feel so alone. Lately my biggest fear has really come to light with how much change I’m currently going through in life is the fear of failure. Ever since I was young I have been so terrified of failing in life and disappointing my parents and my loved ones; so much so that my anxiety tears me up inside regardless of how ridiculous my thoughts are. It’s almost as though I’m a prisoner in my own mind, unable to escape from the fears and anxieties.

Because of all of this and more, I’ve been relying on my faith immensely. There’s something so comforting knowing that there is an all-powerful God who loves you and is always on your side no matter what life throws your way. I grew up in the Catholic church, but I never knew how much all those years of Catholic education have paid off in my faith. Even after losing myself for a while, I know that I am welcomed back to God with open arms. This Bible verse, in particular, has really helped me get through this time: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10. Though I am continuing to work on bettering myself, everyday is a little better than the last with God as my light, and my friends and family by my side, everything is starting to look up.

Take care of each other and God bless.

-K

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