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.

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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Cheers to 5 Years: 5 Lessons Learned from 5 Years of Blogging

Cheers to 5 Years: 5 Lessons Learned from 5 Years of Blogging

I’m finally back from my two month hiatus! Truth is, it was much-needed for me to take a step back and focus on my full-time job and my mental and physical health, which I will be addressing in an upcoming post. Today I am celebrating something near and dear to my heart: this blog!

5 years ago yesterday, I started on a journey to enhance my writing skills on an outlet that I never knew would become such a passion of mine.  From the very beginning, I knew that this isn’t something I wanted to do for money or likes, but I wanted to do it because it was something that I genuinely enjoyed, and I desperately needed a creative outlet. I always thought, “if one person can read this, and take something away from it that makes them feel as though they’ve connected on some level with me, then I’m doing something right.” One of the beautiful things about blogging is that it’s a way of telling your story without any guidelines or having to stick to anyone else’s voice. The fact that I’ve always been able to be 100% authentic is what truly drives me to continue to blog.

TOP 5 LESSONS LEARNED IN 5 YEARS OF BLOGGING:

  1. There will be times when you need to take a step back from blogging, and that’s okay. Life can be really freaking hard sometimes and you owe it to yourself to keep your health in check. 
  2. Your writing, style and interests will evolve and change as you grow and learn. Let it happen.
  3. Quit comparing yourself to others; you don’t have to “keep up with the Joneses” to be a good blogger.
  4. Stay true to yourself — don’t try to be someone you’re not.
  5. People will be judgmental and have some not-so-nice things to say when you put yourself out there. Don’t let these people stop you from sharing your story and chasing your dreams.

BONUS LESSON

Always have kickass support system behind you. Unfortunately, your blog will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are always those family members and friends that will be there to support your every blog and Instagram post regardless of how avant garde it can be. Make sure you keep these people in your circle forever.

Thank you so much for sharing in this journey with me these last five years, and for the steadfast support. I have some of the best followers ever!

Cheers to many more years!

– K

Surviving My First Post-Grad Job: A Year in Reflection

“There is no substitute for hard work” – Thomas Edison

I’ve been at my first post-grad job for about a year and a half now, and thus far it has been a whirlwind of learning experiences. If you’ve stuck with me this long, you’ll know that I did a brief reflection after my first week on the job. Needless to say, after only a week on the job, I had no idea what lay ahead for me in my position.

A Brief HistoryInitially, I was hired on to take over our Social Media Strategist’s position while she was on maternity leave. She’d been at the company for about five years at the time, and is  beyond fantastic at her job. Daunting was an understatement. As turbulent as it seemed at the time, I found that I really enjoyed the position, namely because I was gaining more global experience than I ever thought I would. Upon her return in January, I was handed over some of the same responsibilities I was doing in her position, such as branding/merchandising, writing press releases, and managing local trade shows and conferences. These items, as well as a few others, are what I’m currently responsible for in my position.

Here are a few lessons I’ve taken away from my first year in corporate America:

  • You will make mistakes. Accept them. Learn from them. Early on, I was terrified of making any mistakes, but it turned out that I was preventing myself from learning. After a series of events and some self reflection, I finally acknowledged that it is all part of being human, and the learning process.
  • Be hungry to learn. Take on every learning opportunity you are given even if it scares you; something truly great could come out of the experience. If an opportunity is not directly presented to you, it does not hurt to ask! In fact, it will make you an exemplary employee.
  • Ask questions unapologetically. I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to figure out that my co-workers are not going to get mad at me or annoyed with me if I have a question. It’s always better to ask a question, rather than assuming and doing something wrong. You are not expected to know everything when you first start out. Be sure not to ask the SAME question over and over again – this is where you’ll piss people off.
  • Find yourself a mentor. Being one of the youngest people in the company is a challenge in itself. Luckily, I’ve been blessed with an awesome team that genuinely wants me to succeed.
  • Don’t take things too personally. This is something that I’m still struggling with, and – quite frankly – I think it takes a while to learn.
  • Leave work at work. I CANNOT emphasize this enough! You will have a much healthier work-life balance if you leave anxieties and stress pertaining to work at the door on your way out. You work to live, you don’t live to work.
  • Take care of yourself outside of work. If you’re not at your best outside of work, there’s absolutely no way you can bring your best foot forward at work. Take at least an hour out of your day to relax and “treat yo’self”.

Not too shabby for YEAR 1! It was no easy feat, yet I’ve learned a lot about myself and grown immensely throughout the process. Obviously there is still much more to learn throughout my career, and I’m beyond excited to see what the future holds!

-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.